• Valencia Test Report - Day Two

Ferrari remains top of the tables

Dan Knutson at Circuit Ricardo Tormo
February 2, 2010 « Force India signs di Resta to test | »

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Felipe Massa kept the Ferrari at the top of the time sheets © Sutton Images

Felipe Massa again topped testing as he held onto first place all day by setting the fastest laps in his new Ferrari F10 during the second day of multi-team test in Valencia.

His best time was a 1:11.722, which he clocked during the first half of the day. It was considerably better than Monday when he was the quickest driver on the track with a time of 1:12.574. "The feeling for the car is great," said an enthusiastic Massa who completed 124 laps.

Testing ended four minutes early when the red flags halted the session. Robert Kubica's Renault had stopped on the pit straight directly in front of his pit. The initial speculation was that he'd run out of fuel.

Fast man Massa is still adapting to the new Ferrari which, because the fuel tank is now 160 litres, has a longer wheelbase than the 2009 model. "The first time I realised that was when I looked in the mirrors and could see the rear tyres were further back," he said. "But that's something we'll all get used to and the only thing we've got to be careful of is when passing other cars to remember not to pull in front of them too quickly."

This is also the first time the drivers and teams have properly tested the new narrower front Bridgestone tyres. "For sure they've got a lot more grip than the GP2 tyres I've been using recently," Massa said. "Obviously the car counts for a lot, as it generates a lot more grip. I've got to say I'm quite happy with the way the tyres worked, but you have to remember it was quite cold.

"We'll have to wait to see how the car handles and how the tyres cope with higher temperatures, and what kind of degradation will we get. But the first impressions were quite good."

Lewis Hamilton was the first driver out on the track in the morning. He took over the McLaren MP4-25 from test driver Gary Paffett who shook the car down Monday.

"The feeling was like the difference between night and day compared to the first lap in the first test day in 2009," Hamilton told ESPNF1. "It is a really positive feeling. Obviously I have kept a close eye on the development of this car, and the results we got at the end of 2009, seeing the car evolve, and having input into it, I was very excited to get into the car today to see just what parts we have improved. I got out of the car smiling, and all the problems I had in the last car I don't have with this one. But there are still a lot of areas we can improve on."

Kamui Kobayashi replaced team-mate Pedro de la Rosa in the Sauber. Nico Rosberg spent the entire day in the Mercedes MGP W01 rather than sharing the testing duties with Michael Schumacher as he did on Monday.

Other than that, the rest of the driver line-up was the same on day two as on day one with Rubens Barrichello in the Williams FW32 and Sebastien Buemi in the Toro Rosso STR5.

Hamilton managed a best time of 1:12.056 during his first test in the McLaren © Sutton Images

Kobayashi was second quickest with a lap of 1:12.056. Hamilton, who was immediately fast, was third with a time of 1:12.256. Kubica spent the day doing long runs, including one of more than half of a grand prix distance, before going for some fast times in the last 30 minutes. His time of 1:12.426 was the fourth best of the day. But Renault's focus is not lap times.

"Our objective is to get a nice reliable base for the car so that we can then make the best use of the limited number of pre-season testing days that we have," said Renault's technical director James Allison.

"We need to learn the characteristics of the new tyres. There has been quite a substantial change to the tyres since last year, and we need to learn how to get the best out of them. And then we want to just to bed the car down and get both our drivers in tune with it."

Rosberg, fifth, turned a 1:12.899 in the Mercedes. That beat the 1:12.947 that Schumacher clocked the day before."The main problem was that my seat dropped 1.5 cm during the day, which made visibility difficult," Rosberg said. "I used the super soft tyres at the end of the day but with the drop in temperature we couldn't make them work. The car didn't feel too bad with 150 kilos of fuel on board. It felt heavy but it didn't handle like a truck."

Barrichello, sixth, said the Williams had severe understeer on Monday. He completed 102 laps Tuesday with a best time of 1:13.377. "You cannot predict much nowadays," he said Monday of the variations on lap times. "If you take 10 kilos of fuel, or full tanks, you are talking about almost four seconds a lap. So it is going to be dead easy for someone to get a sponsor and say that the car is faster in a way."

Williams has endured a heavy work load because of the switch from Toyota to Cosworth engines. "Because of the engine change, we have a lot more work to do on the systems than maybe other teams do," Williams technical director Sam Michael explained. "We are checking a lot of things to make sure that the engine is talking to the gearbox and vice versa.

"So we are checking the fuel system, gearbox system, the water and oil cooling, gearbox cooling, hydraulics and looking for vibrations that may or not be there. We have a long test list and lots of thermo couplings and accelerometers on the car, and you have to go through that process."

Although Buemi was last with a time of 1:13.823, the Toro Rosso team believes it has fixed the gearbox woes that limited the new STR5 to just 18 laps on Monday.

"Up to now we have not had any other problems than the gearbox, but we will see," said Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost.

Still, the car spent a long time in the Toro Rosso garage during the middle part of the day. All a Toro Rosso spokesperson would reveal was that the crew "was working on the car." But then Buemi got back out on the track and completed a total of 107 laps.

Off track, Schumacher took some time off from watching proceedings in the Mercedes garage to have lunch at Ferrari with his doctor Johannes Peil. Schumacher is staying at the track in a motor home he borrowed from brother Ralf.

Like Monday, it was a sunny day albeit slightly cooler with a temperature of 12.7 degrees Centigrade.

Times at close of testing on Tuesday:

Pos. Driver Car Best Time Laps
1 Felipe Massa Ferrari F10 1:11.722 124
2 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber C29 1:12.056 96
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren MP4-25 1:12.256 108
4 Robert Kubica   Renault R30 1:12.426 119
5 Nico Rosberg  Mercedes MGPW01 1:12:899 119
6 Rubens Barrichello Williams FW32 1:13.377 102
7 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso STR5 1:13.823 107