Perez fastest in his last test before F1 debut

2011 F1 testing

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Sergio Perez, Sauber, Barcelona, 2011

Sergio Perez put Sauber on top on the third day of testing at Barcelona – his last test before making his F1 debut in Melbourne.

And unlike his fastest time on Tuesday, he didn’t cut the track in order to set his fastest time.

His lap of 1’21.761, set during the morning, is the fastest lap seen at the Circuit de Catalunya so far this year, beating Sebastian Vettel’s best effort from yesterday by a tenth of a second.

Perez had a problem later in the session, however, coming to a stop at the end of the pit lane in his Sauber. He was able to join the track again shortly afterwards.

The next two drivers on the times sheet were also in their last test before the first race.

Felipe Massa was second fastest for Ferrari, who have now accumulated more than a season’s worth of racing mileage on their 150??? Italia – over 6,100km.

Mark Webber was third for Red Bull.

Williams did not run KERS on Rubens Barrichello’s car today after experiencing more problems with it yesterday. However they still caused two stoppages – one shortly before the lunch break and another half an hour before the test was due to end.

A third red flag was caused by Jerome d’Ambrosio in the Virgin earlier on.

Renault split their running between Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld. The German driver back in the car after his Tuesday running was cut short as he was unwell.

Lotus also ran two drivers today, with Heikki Kovalainen taking over from Jarno Trulli. But they were delayed by reliability problems again, and further frustrated when a replacement radiator they had flown in broke during transit.

DriverCarBest timeLapsDifference
1Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari C301’21.76195
2Felipe MassaFerrari 150??? Italia1’22.0921320.331
3Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault RB71’22.466970.705
4Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth FW331’22.6371050.876
5Michael SchumacherMercedes W021’22.892891.131
6Nick HeidfeldRenault R311’23.541321.780
7Heikki KovalainenLotus-Renault T1281’23.990402.229
8Vitaly PetrovRenault R311’24.233242.472
9Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes VJM041’24.3341082.573
10Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso-Ferrari STR61’24.7791073.018
11Jerome d’AmbrosioVirgin-Cosworth MVR-021’27.336965.575
12Jarno TrulliLotus-Renault T1281’34.485612.724

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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53 comments on “Perez fastest in his last test before F1 debut”

  1. I know we can’t take much from testing… but I think we could be in for some surprises this season…

    1. I agree Ben, I surely hope so!

    2. I hope so too. To actually beat Vettel over-all by a tenth is quite a big thing. Still…let’s not get excited until race conditions.

  2. I’ve got my fingers crossed for Sauber. I hope they do well and gain a few more sponsors. A few more apart from the hundreds of millionaires who have opted to join ‘Sauber Club One’, I mean.


    1. By the way – completely off-topic – where do I add my avatar after creating an account?

    2. They have Telmex – is that Carlos Slim’s company, he is still richest man according to Forbes.

  3. Not really…that was a super low fuel run…and the reporters in the know have said sauber and torro rosso are right up there with renault, Mclaren, Mercedes: 5 teams which we will not be sure of their outright pace for a while yet, not till after the checkered flag in Melbourne…

    If the Red Bull went out and did a super low fuel lap on fast tyres, I think they may get into the high 1.20s…we will wait and see in expectation! But hats off to Sauber, clearly they have a good start of season car!

  4. Probably cut the chicane again, nobody noticed this time.

  5. Hmm, de us vu. Didn’t saber do well this time last year also only to then fall back in the race. Are they still fishing for sponsors?

  6. Virgin seems like its doomed to be at the rear of the grid which is a shame. Was hoping it might be able to scrape a point

    1. Well ,they seem to have just about as much reliability issues as Team Lotus, Torro Rosso, Sauber and Williams. But speed is not really there, so they might be making up the back with McLAren, Mercedes and HRT!

    2. A shame the Honda sportscar looks more sculpted and refined than Virgins F1 car (it looks good compared to that Aston Martin and the Peugeot)

  7. Given Williams were not running KERS today, it looks like they may have produced quite a fast (but rather fragile) car.

    1. But Renault too were having issues with KERS, as well as Sauber.

  8. Kovalainen was almost 11 seconds faster than Trulli in the same car today. That just goes to show the difference in the quality of these two drivers!

    1. I hope that was ‘tongue-in-cheek’ ?

  9. Sauber was hidding us a REAL something, but before getting too exited we have to remember last season sauber’s testing. But in my case, i feel this time is lightly different from last season.
    And don’t forget Perez (of course Kamui will rock-on-track), keep an eye on perez.

    1. No, its the same, pure show of…

      1. Dontmisunderstandme -> RedBull and Ferrary are ahead of all, just i expected sauber near the bottom, this put them back to fight with mercedes, williams and renault whom havent show us what they got, but cant be far better from sauber’s.

  10. Wow Sauber must be the team to beat.

    1. No..

      HRT is the team to beat…


      1. And tomorrow we find out!

        They should be a good deal much better than they were last season, however little testing they do.

        1. im genuinley looking forward to tomorrow, to see if HRT are there or not. HRT is the F1 equivalent to an episode of Lost, so many questions that need answering that only lead to more questions. Will they be there? will it be this years car? will it still have filled the “This is a cool spot” advert space? Sooo many questions.

    2. Sauber did this last year aswell.

      My bet is it is purely public relations.

  11. This is interesting. Perez setting the fastest time says more about the rest of teams than it does about Sauber. Definitely this is a pure qualifying try and makes one wonder how much faster Red Bull and Ferrari really is..

    1. My thoughts exactly, if a Sauber can come up with this sort of lap time when they take the fuel out what kind of time is an rb7 going to set with low fuel…Maybe on the last day we’ll see?

      1. Maybe on the last day well see?

        No one will be setting any fast lap times on the last day of testing.

        1. Rain rain rain rain

          1. but rain is coming only later afternoon, so they might be doing some fast times before lunch or right after lunch.

  12. Well Massa did a quali run as well, fell short .3 sec

    1. That settles it then, Kobayashi to win the Championship. Nah the Sauber isn’t exactly going to be the fastest car after being average all the other days is it..I doubt the true potential of most other teams has been shown yet.


    1. Perez looks like a very good driver to have in that car, I am looking forward to seeing him racing. If that Sauber is half up to the job they will be a wonder to watch again this year.

      I saw Esteban Gutierrez (did I spell that right?) is going states side now. I hope he gets back as well, he looks very good as well.
      Bring on the Mexican GP rumours. At least Austin is relatively close by!

  14. Regardless, even if Sauber surprise some in testing, even if they start the season stronger than most expect, they won’t be able to keep up to the pace of development throughout the season of several top teams on the grid. Not to mention their driver pairing is far weaker than several of the teams’. A one-off lap in testing is night and day different from racing in anger.

    1. Well, this is one of the few teams that actually have the ressources in house to do that kind of development.
      So compared to the FI, Williams, STR, Lotus and possibly Mercedes they might have a small advantage in developments.

  15. From BBC website:

    “Technical director James Key said this was the first time the team had run the car on a low fuel load and that Perez “did a good and controlled set of laps, setting a time of 1:22.042 minutes on soft tyres and 1:21.761 on the super-soft compound”.”

    1. The super-soft tyres aren’t even at this test, it’s only the soft and hard tyres.

    2. So that might have been on the hards and softs respectively.
      Not too bad then.

  16. I really hope Perez does well, I’ve been waiting to see him in Formula One for over 2 years. I just hope he doesn’t let me down like Nelson Piquet Jr. did.

  17. Probably better to post this on this page. oops!

    BBC website:

    “Technical director James Key said this was the first time the team had run the car on a low fuel load and that Perez “did a good and controlled set of laps, setting a time of 1:22.042 minutes on soft tyres and 1:21.761 on the super-soft compound”.”

  18. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    10th March 2011, 18:14

    The testings añways provides some deceiving results. Even more, a little difficult tough. it’s that probably McLaren is proving different aero packages and then catch up with the top teams. But the flying lap set but Perez doesn’t point at Sauber as a top team or even an occasional contender. It’s an improve of course, but just among the pack teams. Let’s se how Renault evolves and if Heifeld is able to challenge the Bulls and Alonso (needless to think Massa as a real contender)

  19. Im a Psychic you will see:
    –battle for the 1st———
    –for the 3rd—————-
    –5th and 6th—————-
    Toro rosso
    –rest assured—————
    Force India
    –I dont want to be the last——–

  20. Perez’s time today was almost as fast as what Kobayashi managed last year in Quali, which got him to Q3:

    Taking into account the peformance loss due to lower downforce levels from new regulations and the drop-off from Pirelli tyres compared to the Bridgestones, his time looks very competitive.

    1. Now that is interesting.

  21. tomforpresident
    10th March 2011, 21:22

    am i the only one impressed by Kovalainen’s lap? still not up with the big guys but hopefully that gap is closing.

  22. All the cars have a certain amount of ballast added to bring them up to the minimum weight. Where you put the ballast can make a big difference, and I think this is the area where Sauber have found their speed. They’ve put their ballast in the corner of the garage with the spare wheels. I’d like to see them do well, so hopefully I’m wrong about that.

  23. This may have been a glory run but I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen of Perez so far. He seems to have a quiet air of self-belief about him.

  24. What was that all about? that was a great lap. May not be the likes of Red Bull or Ferrari but I think with tyres rules Sauber & Torro Rosso can shed sweat from the big teams.

  25. I think Lotus should consider swapping courier companies.

  26. I can see Kamui winning a race this year and possibly both cars in the points in Australia.

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