Seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher set the fastest time in testing at Jerez in Spain, clocking a fastest lap time of 1min 18.561sec in the morning session and completing 132 laps.
The 43-year-old German veteran was half a second faster in his Mercedes than Australian ace Mark Webber in the new Red Bull RB8 with Daniel Ricciardo another half second further back for Toro Rosso.
Frenchman Jules Bianchi also impressed as the Force India reserve driver was fourth-fastest in the new VJM05. While Schumacher was racing last year’s model Webber timed 1:19.184 for the best effort by any of the drivers trying out the new season variant. Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday pacesetter Kimi Raikkonen was fifth in the Lotus E20, just behind Bianchi, whose Force India team mate Paul di Resta was sixth with his best morning time. They were followed by Felipe Massa, who hands over the Ferrari F2012 to Fernando Alonso on Thursday, and Jenson Button who will similarly step aside for Lewis Hamilton at McLaren. Both teams reported trouble-free sessions, Ferrari working on general data acquisition, McLaren on braking, set-up and software changes.
Sergio Perez was ninth fastest as he got his first taste of Sauber’s new C31. Despite losing some track time to a fuel system issue, the Swiss team reported a positive day, with pleasing results from new aero parts that they trialled in the afternoon. Williams’ Pastor Maldonado rounded out the top ten, with team mate Bruno Senna set to take over the FW34 on Thursday.
Caterham had a highly productive session. Heikki Kovalainen may have been only 11th in the times, but he racked up a mammoth 139 laps as the team ran KERS on their car for the first time. Newly-signed tester Giedo van der Garde will make his first appearance in the CT01 on Thursday. Formula 1