Lotus, Grosjeans Again Top F1 Testing

March 2, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Romain Grosjean of Lotus drives during day two of Formula One winter testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. (Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Romain Grosjean of Lotus drives during day two of Formula One winter testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. (Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

For the second day in a row, Romain Grosjeans’ Lotus E20 has lapped Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya faster than any of its Formula One rivals at F1’s final preseason test session.

Grosjean’s best lap was .638 faster than his chart-topping time of the day before; in fact, his Thursday time was quicker than the rest of the field’s Friday time save for the 1:23.162 of Jean-Eric Vergne in the Toro Rosso.

“I’m very happy with the car, and it was great that we could still run strongly at the end of the session, even after a long stint,” Grosjean said on the Lotus F1 website. “Today was the first race distance I’ve completed in a long time and I’m feeling pretty good. No doubt my neck will be a little sore tomorrow, but the rest of me is fine!”

Grosjean put in 124 laps Friday; Jean-Eric Vergne managed only 45 after engine failure forced a complete engine swap in the Toro Rosso.

“Of course it is a shame my winter testing ended with a less than satisfactory day, with not so many laps completed,” said Vergne. “However, yesterday we did a lot of running and the team still has two more days here with Daniel [Ricciardio] and I believe we can therefore make up for lost time.

“The day was not a complete wash-out, as we got some useful data in the morning and did yet more pit stop practices this afternoon. Since Jerez, the team and I have worked very hard to get me as ready as possible for the season and now, I’m looking forward to taking part in my first ever Grand Prix when the championship starts in Australia.”

Sebastian Vettel finished third in the session with a time of 1:23.361. Fenando Alonso scored fourth with a lap of 1:23.447, and Heikki Kovalainen finished the top five in the usually slower Caterham with a time of 1:23.828.

Kamui Kobayashi came in sixth in the Sauber, though hydraulics problems in the afternoon prevented the team from doing a race-distance test. The morning session was interrupted by red flags for among other things; fog, which stopped testing and forced the session to be extended later in the day.

“With regard to our lap times, we are quite happy with today’s achievements,” Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Sauber’s head of track engineering, told formula1.com. “In terms of running through our program, we have been a bit unlucky. For us today the red flags always came out at the wrong time. But this is how it goes, and we have also had days when interruptions didn’t do us any harm.

“However, today it was difficult to find a good rhythm, and then later on we lost more than an hour due to a hydraulic leak. The fact that we had to remove the gearbox to fix it was very time consuming. Overall we gained some good experience with the car, and there is still more to be learned about it.”

Teams will test for two more days, preparing for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 18.

Formula One Barcelona Test Friday Results

 

Driver

Constructor

Time

Laps

1

Romain Grosjean

Lotus

1m22.614

124

2

Jean-Eric Vergne

Scuderia Toro Rosso

1m23.126

45

3

Sebastian Vettel

Red Bull Racing

1m23.361

85

4

Fernando Alonso

Ferrari

1m23.447

125

5

Heikki Kovalainen

Caterham F1

1m23.828

104

6

Kamui Kobayashi

Sauber

1m23.836

77

7

Nico Hulkenberg

Force India F1

1m23.893

36

8

Michael Schumacher

Mercedes AMG

1m23.978

79

9

Lewis Hamilton

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

1m24.111

65

10

Bruno Senna

Williams

1m24.925

48

11

Pastor Maldonado

Williams

1m25.801

20