The fourth and final day of testing at Spain’s Jerez circuit finished earlier, and it was McLaren’s Jenson Button who ended the afternoon at the very top of the timing sheets, completing his fastest lap of the track in 1m18.871s, beating the previous benchmark time set by Mark Webber yesterday. Like yesterday, the weather was good for dry running and the teams racked up the mileage before all the equipment is moved to Barcelona for the final test next week.
Robert Kubica followed a similar tactic to Button and completed short runs in the morning before switching to longer, fuel-laden runs after lunch. Kubica’s fastest lap in the Renault was just 0.2s shy of Button’s and 0.074s ahead of third placed driver Kamui Kobayashi. The Sauber pilot was experiencing a better day than yesterday and Kobayashi was able to complete 117 laps before the chequered flag fell. The Japanese driver didn’t leave the circuit with an unblemished record though, the Sauber C29 stopping on track earlier in the morning and causing a red flag.
In contrast, Mark Webber spent much of his day in the garage looking at the new RB6 in pieces as the team made a precautionary engine change. When Webber was able to join the circuit, he managed to get 87 laps in, but was only in eighth by the end of the day. Also enduring a difficult day was Timo Glock, the Virgin VR-01 suffering from hydraulics problems yet again. Glock could only squeeze 28 laps out of the car and also caused the session’s final red flag, stopping on track with just a minute left on the clock.
Jarno Trulli put in some hard work in the Lotus, the Italian pilot completing an impressive 141 tours of Jerez while concentrating on acclimatisation and set up. Although Trulli languishes at the very bottom of the timing sheet and is a full second down on Glock, the Lotus ran trouble-free all day. Credit where it is due, the T127 is proving reliable which will pay dividends during the season (with the new points structure), assuming the car and rules stays that way.
Vitantonio Liuzzi took over from Adrian Sutil in the Force India for the final day, the Italian setting a fairly fast fourth best time of the day. Also returning to their car was Nico Rosberg, who like Michael Schumacher yesterday, posted the fifth quickest time. Of course it is very tempting to compare lap times between the pair, but Saturday’s track was in a far superior condition to Friday’s, making any comparison meaningless.
Testing will recommence on 25th February at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, home of the Spanish Grand Prix. This four-day session will be the final before the cars and equipment are shipped to Bahrain in preparation for the first race of the season two weeks later.
|1.||Jenson Button McLaren||1m18.871s||108 Laps|
|2.||Robert Kubica Renault||1m19.114s||117 Laps|
|3.||Kamui Kobayashi Sauber||1m19.188s||117 Laps|
|4.||Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India||1m19.650s||80 Laps|
|5.||Nico Rosberg Mercedes||1m20.061s||130 Laps|
|6.||Fernando Alonso Ferrari||1m20.436s||137 Laps|
|7.||Jaime Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m21.053s||139 Laps|
|8.||Mark Webber Red Bull Racing||1m21.194s||87 Laps|
|9.||Nico Hulkenberg Williams||1m21.919s||137 Laps|
|10.||Timo Glock Virgin Racing||1m22.433s||28 Laps|
|11.||Jarno Trulli Lotus||1m23.470s||141 Laps|