Max Chilton went fastest on the opening day of the second in-season test in Barcelona, the Marrusia driver setting a time of 1:26.434 on Pirellis’s supersoft tyre in the final minutes of a session that was complicated by morning rain and a spate of red flags.
Lotus test driver Charles Pic finished in second place with a time two tenths adrift of Chilton, the French driver’s best lap coking on the soft tyre. They were followed by Mercedes Lewis Hamilton who had headed the timesheet for much of the afternoon and who had been quickest in the wet morning session, with a time of 1:44.291 on the intermediate tyre.
Aside from being made tricky by the persistent rain the morning session as also interrupted by a number of red flags.
The morning session was made more difficult by a number of red flags. Kimi Raikkonen suffered a power unit problem on his first run that kept him out action for the morning and Chilton stopped at Turn 5 after an hour. Jean-Eric Vergne had two early stoppages too, bringing out the red flags on his first lap out when he pulled over between Turns 9 and 10 and he then also stopped on his second lap out. He too failed to set a time in the morning session.
The rain led to the opening session being shortened and the lunch break brought forward to midday in a bid to give teams more running in the dry weather forecast for the afternoon. The second outing was also extended until 6pm local time.
Red Bull test driver Sébastien Buemi’s afternoon ended well before then, however. The Swiss driver, focusing mainly on work correlating his on-track performance with his time in the team’s simulator, was sidelined by a gearbox problem after 54 laps.
That was more than double the total managed by Raikkonen. After failing to set a time in the morning the Finn completed just 18 laps in the afternoon before he stopped again at Turn 4, once again bringing out the red flags. Raikkonen ended the day with the fourth fastest time, however.
Behind the Ferrari driver, Vergne was fifth-fastest in front of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Felipe Massa was seventh ahead of Jenson Button. Eighth place went to Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi who ended his session with a big off that saw him hit the barriers hard ship considerable damage to the front end of his CT05.
He was followed by Buemi and finally Sauber tester Giedo van der Garde, who amassed the day’s biggest total of laps with 86. (Source: FIA)