F1 testing: Alguersuari gives the home fans a thrill

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarFriday, February 12th, 2010

 
 

Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari turned an already strong showing by Toro Rosso at Jerez into a timesheet-topping performance today, narrowly besting his team-mate Sebastien Buemi who had scored second place on both the previous days.

More wet weather meant it was another case of drivers setting the fastest times of the day during an hour of dry running first thing – during which window of opportunity Alguersuari scored an unofficial fast lap of 1:19.919. The test had pretty much come to a halt by mid-afternoon.

While the turn-out among Spanish fans is considerably smaller without Alonso on the track, Alguersuari’s success gave those who made the effort something to cheer about – before rain stopped play, at least.

Behind him, putting in another impressive performance for Sauber, was Pedro de la Rosa on 1:20.736. His team-mate Kamui Kobayashi was the fastest driver in dry conditions yesterday.

In third was Force India’s Adrian Sutil, with his first testing appearance in the 2010 car, on a 1:21.428 lap. Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, who ran well in Valencia but was on his first outing in Jerez, was just behind him on 1:21.603.

Sebastian Vettel’s debut in the Red Bull RB6 saw him fifth on the timesheets with 1:21.783 while Renault’s Vitaly Petrov was sixth, with a solid 68 laps to get used to the step up from GP2 to F1, and a time of 1:22.000.

Nico Rosberg demonstrated the difficulty of drawing meaningful inferences from test times with a seventh-place timesheet slot and a fastest lap of 1:22.820. During a previous rainy session at Jerez he had topped the timesheets.

Rubens Barrichello for Williams in eighth managed a time of 1:23.217, as well as putting 120 laps on the FW32 – despite sliding off the track at one point and bringing out a red flag. That was mileage that technical director Sam Michael said was valuable in helping mesh the car and its new Cosworth engine together and test the performance of parts over distance.

Lewis Hamilton, making his first appearance at Jerez, had a relatively subdued day with 68 laps of running and a time of 1:23.985. He was thought to be running on a big fuel load.

The weather was bad news for Virgin F1 who, having flown out to Jerez in order to put just 16 laps on the car after the first two days of testing, fixed their problematic front wing mounting but were only able to get driver Lucas di Grassi out on track for eight laps.

With a time of 1:37.107 the newcomer had little time to settle in and was badly off the pace.

Jerez test times day three

  1. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso: 1:19.919 (76 laps)
  2. Pedro de la Rosa, Sauber: 1:20.736 (58 laps)
  3. Adrian Sutil, Force India: 1:21.428 (48 laps)
  4. Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 1:21.603 (72 laps)
  5. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull: 1:21.783 (59 laps)
  6. Vitaly Petrov, Renault: 1:22.000 (68 laps)
  7. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes: 1:22.820 (53 laps)
  8. Rubens Barrichello, Williams: 1:23.217 (120 laps)
  9. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren: 1:23.985 (68 laps)
  10. Lucas di Grassi, Virgin: 1:37.107 (8 laps)

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