Hulkenberg on top as second day of Barcelona test ends

2012 F1 testing

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Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Barcelona, 2012

Force India headed the times sheets at the end of the second day of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya thanks to Nico Hulkenberg.

The team’s new recruit for 2012 lapped the Spanish track in 1’22.608 – over half a second fastest than Sebastian Vettel’s best time for yesterday.

The world champion completed his week’s testing with the third-fastest time, but spent a long time in the pits during the middle of the day. Mark Webber will take over from him tomorrow.

Between the pair was Sauber’s Sergio Perez, despite suffering an exhaust problem late in the session.

Fernando Alonso moved up to fourth late in the session with a lap of 1’23.180.

Fifth-fastest Daniel Ricciardo stopped twice on the track, causing two red flag interruptions. He did not return to the track following the second which was caused by a driveshaft problem.

Lewis Hamilton was sixth-quickest and was the busiest driver of the day, completing 120 laps.

Williams test driver Valtteri Bottas had his first run in the FW34 but ended the day eighth, over a second off the next-slowest car. Behind him were Caterham debutant Vitaly Petrov and Charles Pic in Marussia’s 2011 car.

DriverCarBest timeLapsDifference
1Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes VJM051’22.608112
2Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari C311’22.648850.040
3Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault RB81’22.8911040.283
4Fernando AlonsoFerrari F20121’23.180870.572
5Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari STR71’23.639501.031
6Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes MP4-271’23.8061201.198
7Nico RosbergMercedes W031’24.555821.947
8Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault FW341’25.7381173.130
9Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault CT011’26.605693.997
10Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth MVR-021’27.3431084.735

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Image © Force India F1 Team

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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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55 comments on “Hulkenberg on top as second day of Barcelona test ends”

  1. As meaningless as ever… although Windsor said yesterday in his blog that Senna was visibly struggling with the car in some parts of the track.

    1. Williams really need a better season…

    2. I know testing times are meaningless, however half way through pre-season testing Williams have consistently looked a couple of seconds slower than the other established teams. You’d have imagined they would have shown a little pace by now.

      I’d love to see Williams have a stong season. I feel like they won’t, and I’m sure people will blame the drivers, but if they do it’s a deeper issue than that.

      1. they have been doing a thousand laps a day, tho! Last year they were quick and look how that ended up!

        I hope they do it better this year too…

    3. @fer-no65 I wouldn’t really take Peter Windsor’s words on that – quite a bit of what he says on technical/driving observations isn’t very accurate. Having said that – the car seems to be suffering a lot of understeer in long slow corners. Very visible through Turn 12

    4. Senna did come right out and say that he thinks the car needs work in the slow corners, and that seems to line up with what various spectators have been saying… here’s hoping it’s a fixable issue and they can show better pace soon.

  2. Early days yes, but that Force India seems to be no slouch based on their testing so far…ie. who knows what is really going on but they certainly have not been lapping in the bottom of the timesheets. I predict a close field amongst the top 6 teams and Force India will be one of them. Perhaps a close 5th or 6th in the WCC standings.

    1. True, Force India are definitely the dark horses of this season. I was just looking at the lap times of hulk, he did two 15 lap run with time constant in mid and high 1.28s, i mean every lap was almost the same time right from 1st to 15th lap, amazing! I think FI are really good in managing their tyres.

    2. It would be just Sutil’s luck to be kicked out of the team right before they have their best season.

      1. Its only testing… A bit less fuel and you are in first.

      2. If Sutil was any good he wouldn’t have needed to be kicked out. I’ve said this in other posts but if he was any good he would have dominated his teammates, but he never did that. Too many rookie type errors, not taking his opportunities on the days when FI was quick. he reminded me of Ralf, in that if he was on his own and the car was quick he could do well, but under pressure he crumbled and he was not a team leader. Good on FI for giving the Hulk and PDR a go this season, and their new car is one of the better looking step nose cars too.

  3. Autosport report says that Hamilton and Vettel where doing a full race distance at the same time separated by a second and that eventually Vettel overtook Ham on track!.

    i know i could be different compounds and even different timing of the simulation but still a more accurate comparision can be made for this ?!?

    1. Absolutely nothing can be taken from this, i looked in to it, different tyres and different wear levels, Vettel said the McLaren looks very competitive though!

    2. They were on track at the same time, but I’m not sure they were at the same distance through their race simulations.

    3. At one point Autosport reported that Vettel and Hamilton were on the track at the same time both on mediums and their average lap times for 11 laps and 10 laps runs respectively was only 0.1s different.

    4. @joac21 Autosport said no such thing….

      It just said they were on the track at the same time (same tyres) separated by a second and Vettel took a few laps to overtake they were lapping similar times.

      1. Actually Autosport live feed did say exactly they did 9 and 10 lap runs on mediums seperated by an average of 0.1 sec.

      2. “..In the afternoon it completed a 67-lap run broken only by pitstops, with Vettel switching between tyre compounds throughout.. His run coincided with Hamilton’s, with the pair at one point the only two on track and separated by less than a second – Vettel eventually working his way past after spending several laps tucked up behind the MP4-27….”

        1. 14:13 Our roving trackside expert, @eddstrawF1, says that the McLaren is looking very strong down at Turn 1. ‘On the power fractionally before Vettel and can be very aggressive on braking and turn in.’ Both cars look very good though he reports.

          14:17 Petrov and Hulkenberg back out on track.

          14:17 Interestingly, Hamilton did a nine lap run – compared to Vettel’s ten, by the way.

          14:17 Less than 0.1s between the pair’s average, and both were on softs.

          14:18 Long runs seem to be the order of the afternoon, as was the case yesterday.

          Sorry they were both on softs at teh time

          1. @Preekel @BBT as you can see autosport did say that and of course with this info you can have a better picture of true pace. maybe @KeithCollantine can help us out with some clever charts.

          2. “Autosport report says that Hamilton and Vettel where doing a full race distance at the same time ”

            That is your interpretation from their quote, mine is different. Maybe I misunderstood you, I as read that they started and ran a full race distance at the same time, did they?

            Autosport “the pair at one point”

            Were they doing race pitstops?, do we know the fuel loads? To many unknowns and autosport comments really can be taken with a pinch of salt have you seen how excited they get about nothing.

            All good fun though, and I hope it is correct and they were on similar fuel and way through their race sim at the point they ran together.

            It would be good news if there really is 0.1s in it.

  4. Yesterday everyone said Vettel will dominate the season after he was fastest… I don’t think anyone will say Hulkenberg will dominate the season today, which shows how testing times mean nothing if we can’t compare the fuel loads and the simulation runs the teams were doing.

    1. Exactly what I was thinking.

      1. Didn’t Williams top the timing sheets a couple of times last year? So, yeah it’s pretty pointless trying to read too much into the ‘headline’ times – though I’ll probably be the first to cheer if Schumi tops the standings tomorrow! :D

        1. @Fixy…agreed when you put it that way but I don’t think anyone would imply that about him (NH), nor has NH been hovering around the bottom of the times, so I think mid pack to strong mid pack is starting to become a safer assumption. Nor has ‘everyone’ said that because SV topped the times yesterday he will dominate again this year.

          But I think it is safe to extrapolate from last year given stability in the rule changes…ie. just as Haug is saying he expects Merc to progress in steps but not to leap from a distant 4th last year to 1st this year, nor can we expect the likes of Force India to leap to domination, but to expect them to improve is not a stretch as indicated by their testing that has to at a minimum have them pleased with how it is going so far. And nor should anyone be surprised to see SV topping the times on some testing days, leading us to believe they will at a minimum be a force to be reckoned with as well.

          Just saying, in spite of our inability to know fuel loads and simulation runs, there isn’t always that much difference in stints when you see how many laps they did between pits, what tires they are on etc. and therefore it’s not like ‘nothing’ can be determined from the testing times.

    2. The BBC website said Vettel set a ‘searing pace’ in the morning. I doubt they’ve said the same for the Sauber and Force India which went faster.

      1. Lol, I guess meaning they believe SV’s time and don’t put a lot of faith in Sauber’s or Force India’s…so they too are extrapolating from last year…or they know SV was on heavy fuel etc. vs. the other’s lighter loads, stickier tires etc.

      2. haha @matt90 yeah I imagine Vettel’s time was searing and Hulkenberg’s was a low fuel test or something along those lines!

      3. @matt90 I am sure the BBC would have mentioned that if it was Paul driving the car! :-)

  5. Blimey, looking at the race simulation pace on track Vettel was absolutely dialled in compared to Hamilton…

    1. Hamilton was doing 15 or so laps each time he was on track while Vettel did 60 !
      so you can’t really compare these two! obviously they had different programs.

    2. I think Hamilton was running a race distance, rather than a race simulation (like Vettel) because he often had 3-4 minutes break between each stint.

      I’m chuffed to bits with McLaren’s form so far. If you think back to last year, the data they’re getting now is surely going to make the start to 2012 more competitive than last year. The pace looks consistent as well.

    3. Don’t forget Vettel is quite a smooth driver – it’s always easier for smooth drivers to get into a rhythm.

  6. Worryingly the only thing that seems to be consistent in testing is Williams being 2 to 3 seconds slower than everyone.

    1. @Mike the bike Schumacher

      Yep, that’s a definite concern. It’s one thing not getting excited about who tops the timing sheet, but when a team is consistently rooted to or near the bottom, that’s probably a sign of real problems with the pace of the car…

      I hope I’m wrong in this case though as I have a certain nostalgic warmth towards Williams and I’d like to see them challenging again (doesn’t look likely anytime soon though) :(

  7. Im surprised there isnt more credit going force india’s way!

    Force India is a great team, with great drivers and team personnel.

    Ok, testing is not an accurate reflection of real pace, for sure. But, Force India have been towards, if not at the top of the time sheets in 2 sets of tests this winter. In my opinion, their car looks the best of the drop nosed teams and it seems to be performing nicely!

    I would also say, there is no reason for this team to be gunning for headlines or super quick, glory runs. This is a well established team, with good sponsors and good budgets.

    1. Good sponsors?

  8. Perhaps we should look at the results as a measurement stick for reliability?

    1. @force-maikel That’s exactly how I look at things. Good reliability = better chance of successful testing = more confidence in wind tunnel correlation and other things.

  9. As what the others said, I sure hope this doesn’t reflect Williams actual pace.

  10. I hope Michael doesn´t have any problems tomorrow and he can get some great milage under his belt :)

  11. Looking at these testing times so far Force India could even break the top 4 this year, If i were Paul Di Resta i would hope Mercedes also have a strong season if Force India themselves do so that a move to Mercedes (if everything falls into place for him) Would still be an upgrade, i can see the 2 teams being quite evenly matched this year.

    1. Based on the little we’ve seen thus far, I’m inclined to agree with your assessment of FI and Mercedes. That said, if FI does give Merc a challenge this year, it would represent a significant failing for Merc.

      I would like to see Di Resta move to Ferrari or McLaren in seats possibly vacated by Massa or Hamilton, respectively. Giving Di Resta a top-tier seat could provide a real challenge to RB and Vettel.

  12. Is this the first time since 2008 that McLaren haven’t got the flow-vis paint out? First testing session in a long time where it isn’t nerve wracking to be a McLaren fan!

    1. And that is kind of worrying in it’s own way.

    2. Why would having Flo Vis be nerve racking? O.o

      1. Because when they do use it, it means the data they are receiving from the testing session doesn’t collerate with their wind-tunnel / computer simulation testing and they need to diagnose the aero with more primitive methods to figure out what’s going wrong. Which is very bad

  13. Does anyone know the tyres the fastest times were set on?

    1. Super softs for the top 2.
      Softs for vettel.

  14. Wow! When was the last testing season where McLaren kept on doing the most laps????

  15. huh, what can I say…people just enjoy its formula 1 and its just testing, this one is faster that one is faster…….JUST ENJOY

  16. As we all know testing times are hard to read with fuel loads tyres ect.

    however I think there is a bit of guide information we can use. I have looked at last years Spanish race and looked at Vettel and Lamiltons Qualifying best lap versus there first proper slowest lap in the race the spread between those times are approximately 9 seconds.

    If you have a look at the Vettels simulation run hes and Hamiltons long run they are both in the low to mid 1.30s for there slowest laps near the start of the stint (therefire we have to presume are on full fuel). Therefore I think we can make an assumption that they are looking very evenly matched so far.

    1. to add to that looking at Nico Hulkenburgs times his slowets is around the 1.31-2 mark if you look at the spread to his fastest time it is around 9 seconds showing that he would have been very light on fuel setting that lap and is close to there normal qualy lap.

  17. Some very long runs yesterday. The most laps of any testing day so far?

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