Maldonado quickest on third day of Barcelona test

2012 F1 testing

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Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Barcelona, 2012

Pastor Maldonado was quickest for Williams on the third day of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The Williams driver set his best time on super-soft tyres early in the session. His lap was three-tenths quicker than the fastest time seen at the test previously, set by Nico Hulkeberg.

Michael Schumacher was second-fastest for Mercedes, almost a full second slower than the Williams. Following the problems with the new W03 yesterday Schumacher completed a busy programme of well over 100 laps.

Third fastest was Kamui Kobayashi, who caused a red flag a few minutes before the lunch break when his car stopped during a fuel run-out test.

McLaren continued to pile on the laps with Jenson Button completing over 100 tours in the MP4-27. He was fourth-quickest ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso.

Mark Webber ended the day sixth but brought out the red flags with half an hour to go when his car stopped halfway around the lap.

The Ferrari of Felipe Massa spent a while in the pits in the morning due to a technical problem. He later emerged to set the seventh-fastest time, but caused the final red flag of the day, moments before the chequered flag was about to be shown, when he stopped while leaving the pits

Paul di Resta, Timo Glock and Vitaly Petrov completed the runners, with HRT absent and Lotus having returned to their factory earlier in the week.

The Force India driver lost part of his engine cover during the test. Glock, who had his first running of the year in last year’s car, carried out tyre comparison work and had a minor off which caused another red flag. Petrov was delayed by suspension problems in the Caterham.

The second test concludes at the circuit tomorrow, though the teams will return for a final four-day pre-season test next week.

DriverCarBest timeLapsDifference
1Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault FW341’22.391106
2Michael SchumacherMercedes W031’23.3841270.993
3Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari C311’23.582991.191
4Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes MP4-271’23.9181141.527
5Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari STR71’24.433782.042
6Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault RB81’24.771972.380
7Felipe MassaFerrari F20121’24.771842.380
8Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes VJM051’25.646833.255
9Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth MVR-021’26.1731083.782
10Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault CT011’26.448704.057

2012 F1 season

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Image © Jamey Price/F1 Fanatic

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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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85 comments on “Maldonado quickest on third day of Barcelona test”

  1. Am I too cynical to think that this is a “show” for sponsorship rather than true pace?

    1. No, Williams are clearly going to be fighting for podiums with the top 3 this year!

      1. for god sakes , please put at least a smiley at the end of your sentence:D

          1. Poe’s law states:
            “Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won’t mistake for the real thing”..LOL..

      2. William Brierty
        23rd February 2012, 21:34

        THERE IS HOPE FOR WILLIAMS!!!!! That lap from Maldonaldo must have a full-bore qualifying lap beause it was 1/2 second faster than his fastest lap in qaulifying last year, a 1.22.8 which got him into Q2 and to 9th on the grid. Now taking into consideration that a) the cars have much less downforce and b) that was one of Maldonaldo’s better qualifying spots, we can draw two conclusions. Either Williams have built a very fast car or the pace in F1 this year is exceptional, bearing in mind the downforce loss. Have faith, it looks like Williams have made a step up in qualifying trim.

        1. William Brierty
          23rd February 2012, 21:47

          In fact Maldonaldo, Kobayashi and Glock went faster than their best times during qualifying at Barcelona in 2011.

        2. You should probably factor in that Maldonado’s qualifying time was set on soft tyres last year, so not as much grip as the super-softs he set the fastest lap with today. That will explain the .5s gap.

        3. this is testing, they may have run the car underweight. many teams ran times in preseason practise faster last year then in qualifying at Barcelona. and remember how quick mercedes were at the last test and many thought they would be good for pole in melbourne?

    2. Yes, you are.
      Williams was the only team (bar Caterham) that hadn’t run a flying lap.
      They worked on the basics first as they have changed engines from last year (and I suspect that’s maybe Gillan’s style as McLaren used to act like that – take time to do it’s first fast lap).

    3. No more than Hulkenberg & Perez from yesterday who were in the 22’s, Hulk and Ricciardo in the top 4 from Tuesday, and in the previous test Raikkonen stands out for me as surprisingly quick at the time and look whats happened there,
      the difference here is that its the first time in the whole pre season Williams have shown any pace at all and proves what we all know that testing times dont really mean much…

    4. This is Barcelona, not Jerez, where Barrichello set his time last year, looking for sponsorship. The time set today by Maldonado is respectable whatever the conditions and it is a sign that the work done by Bruno Senna and Valtteri (this one yesterday) start to bear fruit. I don’ t think Williams has a winning car, but surely has a car with some potential, clearly better than it seemed until now.

      1. looking for sponsorship

        A bit presumptuous – why shouldn’t that circumstances that applied today for Maldonado have applied last year for Barrichello. I.e., they both happened to be using softer tyres than the rest?

        1. Exactly, and if Williams are sponsor hunting does that mean all the other teams that topped the times were as well?


        2. The real difference is the track. Last year in Barcelona Williams couldn’t do good lap times even with empty tanks and supersoft tyres. They did it only in Jerez, a track that doesn’ t represent the real worth of a F1 car. An example of this is the fact Lotus did well this year in Jerez and found the car was not good because of a problem in Barcelona. A problem that Jerez track had masked…

    5. Glory run or not, the fastest Maldonado managed in quali at barcelona last year was a 1:22.854 (assuming old f1 fanatic pages are correct ;).

      Thats a noticable improvement

      1. That depends on what tyres were available at the race last year. In testing they have access to all tyre compounds. I dont think the super soft was available last year at the race weekend.

      2. I’d like to point out, comparing Maldonado’s times from Quali in 2011, to testing this year are pointless because in the 2011 test at Barcelona, Kovalainen did a 1:23, whereas in Quali he only managed a 1:26

        1. That’s a good point @bradley13. I’m quite baffled by how this could be. Even super softs vs softs won’t account for losing 3 seconds from testing to the race.

          Any fanatics with some ideas on this?

          1. they can ran the car underweight in testing thats how, they just take off balast. can do this for several reasons, to test certain parts of the car at certain speeds, or to try and get sponsors in.

    6. I think it’s true pace. Qualifying on supersofts, while others are focussing on race distances. Nothing special. The track gets faster everyday during a raceweekend, let alone a testweek.

      And I think sponsors who are considering F1 for real won’t get fooled. It’s too much money to start doing that totally uninformed.

      Nah. Days of sponsor-seeking-gloryruns are over.

    7. Absolutely,. These times are meaningless if we don’t know what there doing with the car,. fuel, tyres etc.

  2. Both Webber and Massa causing a red-flag at the end of the session. Wouldn’t be supriced if both teams where testing when their cars would run out of fuell.

    1. Well, according to Badger GP, RBR won’t be testing tomorrow now. So, it’s maybe a bit more serious than that for them.

      1. trying to get themselves a private test day perhaps?

        1. I think they have set a bad trend.

          1. taking every opportunity they can to get any extra testing they can, which is a typical scenerio in f1 where you need to do everything you can to be ahead of the rest, even if its immoral.

  3. Any chance of a cummalative lap count or distance for each team?

  4. Maldonado WDC 2012, Williams back in action. You heard it here first. /forceindiashenanigans

  5. ShaneB457 (@shaneb12345678910)
    23rd February 2012, 16:31

    Good to see McLaren getting lots of laps under their belt..every test so far they seem to do more than 100 laps..looks like a solid reliable car at the moment

    1. But they are running a curious testing schedule, did you see their lap times today? Majority of the laps were 1:30 and above.. Strange.

      1. Even though it’s Barcelona, in terms of identifying which teams are where on raw pace, It’s still very anonymous with different teams on different programmes or similar programmes but at different times. Fuel loads & tyre compounds are proven to make this typical scenario very complex.

      2. on hards and mediums… actually he pretty much matched Webber in runs of similar length and on the same compound…Button was even faster at times… but they really did spend much more time on the harder compounds, pretty much neglecting the softer ones…..we will probably know more after testing has ended….

      3. To me the word testing doesn’t imply that they might attempt quick times.

    1. I reckon it’s either smoke and mirrors or just stating the obvious- they might have the best car now, but if they didn’t improve it at all then there’s every likliehood that other teams would jump them.

    2. I interpret that as ‘it’s a Vettel car’.

      1. We may have different mentalities, @alehud42 , but you have a pretty solid point there!

    3. Hmmm, those are pretty strong words.

      Vettel was complaining a lot about low rear grip as well. Maybe RBR are a little spooked about how comfortable the Mclaren’s look?

      1. @bleeps_and_tweaks Vettel complaining of rear grip? Comfortable McLarens? Fast Mercedes?
        :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

    4. Webber is already trying to make excuses…

      1. @t3x Webber is one of the few drivers that tells it how it is. If he feels he is struggling within himself, like last year with the tyres, he admits it. If he feels he performed his best, and still wasn’t quick enough, he will say it. He is not a driver that makes excuses.

      2. thats a really dumb comment, which just shows your dislike for the man

        1. Harsh! Personally think that is quite accurate. His ‘not bad for a number 2 driver’ quote at Silverstone was proof of that.

  6. Where is it can we see what tyre compound the drivers were using when they set their laps.

    1. @72defender I don’t think you can, plus it wouldn’t tell you very much without knowing other set-up and fuel loads etc…

  7. Does anyone know a link for the photo of the back of the Mercedes ?

    1. I can’t look at the front of it either :)

      1. haha, love it!

  8. Just analysed a couple of runs of Mclaren and Red Bull. The most similar one I could find were ones that appeared to be simulations of the second stint (after 11 laps before pitting) both on the hard tyre.

    Webber’s average time: 1:29.353 (15 laps)
    Jenson’s average time: 1:29.277 (15 laps)
    (Both runs were actually 16 laps but Webber had a very slow last lap so i didn’t include them)

    Interestingly, Webber started the stint quicker, but fell off towards the end.

    1. And there fuel load was ??

      1. Well based on the fact that they both seemed to be simulations of a second stint after 11 laps in their first stints, you would assume they were quite similar. Maybe a small difference, but I would would say no more than a couple of 10ths of a second per laps worth.

  9. Looks like Red Bull are on their way:

    “Red Bull have packed up their prat perch from the pitwall… they do know there’s a fourth day of testing tomorrow, don’t they?”

    1. Latest from Will Buxton;

      “So, the rub down at Red Bull seems to be that they’ve packed up the prat perch because they’re finished with race sims.”

      And that they will be around tomorrow but have changed the days they’ll run in the final Barcelona tests next month.

      1. It seems they do have problems. Might be smoke and mirrors but its good acting if it is. Mclaren seems incredibly confident but then they normally do. I genuinely think RBR are really concerned (although I’m not that sure they need to be). Really weird day of testing

        Also change of plan, RBR are running a day later with Ferrari at the next test now… logistics…. really?????

        1. I really want to know why they are changing the plans. Are they worried? Is it a bluff.. or a double bluff? Ooohhhh I really want Melbourne to come soon as poss and see where everyone is. These test dates are too much of a tease.

          I think its wrong in a way, that if you can attend the scheduled test then you either attend or dont. But no rescheduling unless its pivital (e.g. safety reasons) and not just to hide things from others if that is the case or because something isnt working as intended.

  10. Intriguing quote from Button:
    “But there will definitely be something new for Melbourne. We have an update on the car for the first race. It is not a completely straightforward update as it is not about bolting downforce on the car – it is slightly more than that.”

    1. Some sort of vent?

    2. Could be that Engine mapping that F1Enigma posted about earlier today.. All teams have found a way to circumvent the rules and create a EBD event from engine mapping. All speculation at this point, but all of the top teams seem now to be trying to change their testing schedules at the next test.

      1. this upgrade has been planned for a while, it was even alluded to during the launch

        very strange words from button thou, I’m not sure what to expect, a new style of front wing perhaps? something to reduce drag rather than generate DF?

        I’m sure what ever it is will be visable or it would of remained a secret so at least there’s only a week till we find out

        1. It could well be exhaust related, It is the main change this year so will also be the element that is open to more improvement than the rest.

        2. inertia suppressing tech…

      2. Autosport claims that FIA is going to stop that.

  11. William Brierty
    23rd February 2012, 19:48

    That lap from Maldonaldo must have a full-bore qualifying lap beause it was 1/2 second faster than his fastest lap in qaulifying last year, a 1.22.8 which got him into Q2 and to 9th on the grid. Now taking into consideration that a) the cars have much less downforce and b) that was one of Maldonaldo’s better qualifying spots, we can draw two conclusions. Either Williams have built a very fast car or the pace in F1 this year is exceptional, bearing in mind the downforce loss.

    1. Also consider super-soft tyres and weather conditions. It makes the picture a bit not so exceptional. But still – looking not that bad at all for Williams, if they are succeeding at solving reported slow corner behavior issues.

    2. apart from the fact that it is very slow on 99.9% of their other laps in testing

  12. If ever there was a headline that proves testing times should be taken with a pinch of salt it is this one.

    1. @Steph COTD stuff right there.

      Pity people didn’t apply such logic during the first day at Jerez.

  13. You can read all you want into Williams being fastest on testing days, they had two of them last year and “where did they end up in the racing season?”.

  14. Will this year be races for 1st, 5th and 9th in the constructors championships or are there movements in the teams abilities.

    1. That should read 1st, 5th and 10th.

  15. Yes! And these results undeniably prove… absolutely nothing.

  16. In the end, someone will be first and someone will be last…HRT will be last for sure, Marussia next…then it will start to get interesting…Caterham or maybe Williams next? Fixing Williams’ problems in one year and making them fight near the front of the midfield isn’t going to happen…the midfield will be the ones to watch this year as they will all be very close and points will be worth more than 1 million pounds…maybe 100 million pounds! The big question is, will Mercedes jump up to third this year as planned…if they do, they will be knocking Ferrari down to fourth…very sad for me.

    1. The year before last Williams were quite competitive…

  17. I’m getting a bit worried about caterham. I know the times do not mean much but if the team is last or 2nd last in every testing session then surely it does not look very promising…

  18. I think we actually might have Mercedes moving forward at the expense of Ferrari.

    On one side we have the team that is continuing it’s evolution and which is came up with an very well thought pre-season programme, emphasizing the importance of tyre knowledge and working late to fine-tune the developing of the car which they started designing earlier than most front-runners (given the nature of championship). And it’s looking good for them in terms of reliability etc. Seems that some pace is there as well, a solid foundation all things considered.

    On the other side we have the team that is revolutionising and which came up with lots of brand new solutions for their car, more complex etc. It is not going extremely well for them, by the look of things. They are getting their heads around car at the moment and learning tyre behaviour\building tyre model at the same time. They are more or less reliable (usually they are more reliable, you have to admit), but nothing eye-catching in terms of pace. And both of the drivers already stated that the package needs improvement.

    I think Red Bull and McLaren are about to hold their ground as the two fastest teams, but Mercedes may well find themselves just filling that small gap between those two and Ferrari.

    The best case scenario would be having 4 top cars within 0.5s of each other in no particular order. That’s what i’m hoping for.

    And, of course, there’s no solid facts to prove me right or wrong. Just a conclusion from extensively reading the observations of other people :)

  19. Speaking about the Williams, here are some nice details of it –

    Oh and also an answer to why they chose Renault over Cosworth (this was discussed in the roundup comments earlier this week):

    The installation of the engine into the car has also opened up some design scope according to Gillan. ”The Renault engine differs in a number of ways to the Cosworth, it has opened up a lot more flexibility in terms of mapping and it allows us to run a lot hotter with the water and oil which an aerodynamic point of view it is much better. Now we can close up the bodywork a bit. The RS27 also has less degradation with mileage in terms of the engine life.

  20. Maldonado’s time was a glory run. Yesterday Bruno Senna told brazilian journalists that FW34 is an awful car in low speed corners.

    I think people should look more carefully to Mercedes. W03 is a very tricky car and Michael showed a very good pace today, quite similar to Jenson and Webber.

    Also, W03 has some interesting details specially in the rear. Giorgio Piola reported that Mercedes found a way to use again a double decker diffuser. Schumacher looked quite confident today.

    1. Maldonado has said the same thing, but he also said that its improved every day he’s been in the car.

      I think it could well just be a quali sim.

  21. i think williams time is really good……there is some hope for them.
    personally i think this is mainly down to the cheif engineer mike coughlan.

  22. No point in pre guessing the coming season. No matter how much F1 Know how you have, each season start is a clean sheet.

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