Grosjean fastest in Barcelona on day 1

By on Friday, March 2, 2012

Grosjean set the fastest time on his first day back after missing out on most of last week's tests

As we enter the month of March, all eyes naturally begin to focus on the season opening Australian Grand Prix. With the final week of testing kicking off at Barcelona earlier this morning, the teams’ will be trying their best to prepare for Australia without giving their true pace away.

As the track went green, the majority of the drivers’ went out to complete their usual installation laps. Mark Webber was first out for Red Bull, the Australian eager to prove his worthiness to the team in 2012. There was a slight change at Caterham, with Vitaly Petrov replacing Heikki Kovalainen who had unfortunately picked up food poisoning and was unable to take to the track. Kovalainen will return to testing on Friday, with HRT aiming to be on the track by Sunday.

The McLaren of Jenson Button had spent most of the morning session completing practice pit-stops, until he went top with a 01:24.132. The morning session ended under red flag conditions, as the Sauber of Sergio Perez ground to a halt at Turn 5, with the team announcing the car was out of fuel.

As the cars returned to the track after the lunch period, the majority of the teams’ elected to run longer race simulations. This tactic has been used almost every day throughout pre-season testing, as teams’ try and gather as much information for their race setups as possible.

As the afternoon wore on, it looked likely that Jenson Button’s fastest time set in the morning session was to remain unbeaten. That was until the Lotus of Romain Grosjean set a surprisingly quick 01:23.252, on the soft Pirelli compound. The Frenchman was one of only two drivers’ to improve their time in the afternoon session, the other driver being Mark Webber who improved by only a tenth from his morning time. The Australian ended the day 4th, with Jenson Button and Sergio Perez between himself and Grosjean.

Final times:

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1.  Grosjean       Lotus           1m23.252s           73
2.  Button         McLaren         1m23.510s  +0.258   64
3.  Perez          Sauber          1m23.820s  +0.568   118
4.  Webber         Red Bull        1m23.830s  +0.578   102
5.  Rosberg        Mercedes        1m23.992s  +0.740   128
6.  Vergne         Toro Rosso      1m24.216s  +0.964   113
7.  Di Resta       Force India     1m24.305s  +1.053   98
8.  Massa          Ferrari         1m24.318s  +1.066   105
9.  Petrov         Caterham        1m24.876s  +1.624   123
10. Maldonado      Williams        1m25.587s  +2.335   58

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