• Barcelona Testing - Day One

Webber sets blistering pace

ESPNF1 Staff
February 25, 2010 « FIA inspects US F1 factory | »

Day One Gallery

Mark Webber underlined Red Bull's impressive pre-season pace by topping the time sheets on the first day of the final test in Barcelona.

Webber set a best time of 1:21.487, 0.9 seconds faster than his nearest competitor Nico Hulkenberg, after a number of short runs on what appeared to be a low fuel load. As always in pre-season testing, it's difficult to read too much into the headline times as varying fuel loads can account for multiple seconds of lap time. As if to prove the point, Webber spent the afternoon clocking 1:27s over much longer runs with a heavier fuel load.

Much like last week's running in Jerez, the test was punctuated by a number of red flags. Most were due to stoppages on track but one was the result of big accident involving Lucas di Grassi in the Virgin. The team is focussing on the reliability of the VR-01 this week, after problems with its hydraulic system caused it to miss much of last week's test. However, when di Grassi went hard into the barriers at turn nine, he destroyed the rear of his car and his team had to cancel its schedule for the rest of the day. Di Grassi walked away unharmed and commented on his Twitter page: "I am fine, thanks. Next time I will go even faster, always pushing more and more". New parts will be flown out and the team is hoping to repair the car overnight.

Lucas di Grassi's car is returned to the pits © Sutton Images

Red flags were also caused by Fairuz Fauzy's Lotus, Fernando Alonso's Ferrari, Webber's Red Bull, Nico Rosberg's Mercedes and Jenson Button's McLaren. Alonso spent most of the morning in the garage after his car stopped on track, as Ferrari fixed a time-consuming electronic glitch. He eventually finished seventh overall.

Back at the sharp end, Rosberg was third fastest, ahead of Pedro de la Rosa in the Sauber, Button in the McLaren and Tonio Liuzzi in the Force India. Force India, along with many of the other teams, dedicated a large amount of its day to working on pit stops. The speed of tyre changes will be crucial this year as the ban on refuelling means it will define the overall length of the stop. Force India simulated pitting under a variety of conditions, including a practice run of its safety car procedure.

Eighth fastest was Vitaly Petrov in the Renault, the Russian enjoying a full day at the wheel in dry conditions. Behind him was Jaime Alguersuari, who completed the most laps of anyone with 111, di Grassi, who registered the least, and Fauzy in the Lotus.

The test will continue tomorrow with Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Jarno Trulli all taking over at their respective teams.

Day one lap times

Pos. Driver Car Best Time Laps
1. Mark Webber Red Bull RB6 1:21.487 109
2. Nico Hulkenberg Williams FW32 1:22.407 81
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes W01 1:22.514 107
4. Pedro de la Rosa Sauber C29 1:23.144 73
5. Jenson Button McLaren MP4-25 1:23.452 100
6. Tonio Liuzzi Force India VJM03 1:24.064 64
7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari F10 1:24.170 74
8. Vitaly Petrov Renault R30 1:24.173 73
9. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso STR5 1:24.869 111
10. Lucas di Grassi Virgin VR-01 1:27.057 31
11. Fairuz Fauzy Lotus T127 1:28.002 76