BARCELONA, Spain, Feb 20, 2013 (AFP) - Sergio Perez, signed up by McLaren to replace Lewis Hamilton for the 2013 season, outshone triple world champion Sebastian Vettel to post the quickest time on the second day of testing at the Catalunya circuit here on Wednesday.
Red Bull ace Vettel set the early benchmark with a fastest morning lap of 1min 22.197, but Mexican Perez, who moved to McLaren from Sauber, bettered that with a time of 1:21.848 in the afternoon.
Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen, who failed to post a time in the morning due to a changed gearbox, took third in 1:22.697, with Hamilton steering his Mercedes into fourth.
The new Mercedes driver completed 121 laps with no problems, by the far the most of any drivers (the only above the 100 mark). The team will have a lot of data to analyze now.
Temperatures weren't the ideal for the morning session, which prompted teams to avoid long runs early and instead other exercises, from pit-stop practices to short sprints, etc.
However things changed for the afternoon with a much warmer environment that allowed for longer runs and race simulations, something most teams did at some point.
Lotus most be satisfied with the E21 performance as it is constantly up at the top in terms of times, but the series of mechanical setback are surely a source of concern. Reliability issues are something the team can afford once the season starts, and it should improve to extract the most information from the testing.
Today, Kimi Raikkonen was able to hit the track with only two hours left, which allowed him to run for just 43. Interestingly that was enough for third best.
Sebastian Vettel seemed to be doing well in the morning, but in the afternoon his intermittent activity came to an abrupt end with no much time left, when he had to stop his RB9 at the end of the pit exit that originated the appearance of the red flag.
Ferrari had a more discrete outing today compared to yesterday with Fernando Alonso completing fewer laps (76) partly because in the morning an overheating exhaust put a stop to his run. By the end of the day his best time was of 1:23.247, just good for fifth.
Valtteri Bottas had his first chance to go with the promising William FW35 and 98 laps with a best time of 1:23.561, which account for sixth best. Williams focused on evaluating front wings configurations, either with or without the stepped nose.
The wraps come off the new season in Australia on March 17
See the best times of the day below:
|2||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:22.197||0.349||84|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso||1:23.718||1.87||70|
|8||Paul di Resta||Force India||1:23.971||2.123||62|