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Rosberg and Mercedes Quickest in the Wet at Jerez

Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes W01 - quickest on day one at Jerez

The second of four scheduled pre-season Formula 1 test sessions began today at Jerez.  Shortly after the morning session began, it began to rain.  As a result, the quickest lap times of the day were recorded in the early portion of the morning session.  Rain continued through the morning and into the afternoon session.

The quickest lap of the day was set by Nico Rosberg, in the Mercedes W01, who turned a 1:20.927.  He was the only driver to get below the 1:21 range.  Sebastian Buemi, in the Toro Rosso, was second quickest. He was about 0.10 behind Rosberg, and he was the only other driver to lap below the 1:22 mark.  Nico Hulkenberg was third quickest, and he was more than a second slower than Buemi.

Slowest on the day was Timo Glock, who ran a total of five installation laps, with a quickest time of 1:38.737, almost 18 seconds adrift of Rosberg’s time.  Virgin didn’t send their car out until the afternoon session, however.  They missed the morning session entirely, as they were busy fitting new parts to the car.  Apparently, the components had only just arrived at the track.

Hulkenberg’s morning run was mostly significant for its length: the young German ran a total of 118 laps, by far the most of any driver there today.  As Hulkenberg is a rookie, it’s likely that Williams is trying to give him as much pre-season cockpit time as possible – no doubt a challenge, in the current test-ban environment.

The remainder of today’s field of ten drivers racked up significantly slower times, no doubt due to the changing weather and damp track.  Rain is scheduled for all four days of the test sessions, which will no doubt affect the value of the data collected.  On the other hand, it will give the teams the opportunity to experiment with wet weather set-ups.

Nine out of the ten teams shown below will have the same driver line-up tomorrow, and will rotate to their alternate tester for Friday and Saturday.  The exception is Mercedes, who will have Michael Schumacher replace Nico Rosberg tomorrow.

While most observers had been hoping that the Jerez tests would reveal more of the relative performance levels of the teams, the wet weather has thus far nixed these expectations, and made comparative lap times worthless.  Perhaps if the weather stabilizes by Saturday, that will change.  Otherwise, we’ll have to wait until the next test later on this month for a better indication of the teams’ current pecking order.

Pos. Driver Car Best Time Laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes W01 1:20.927 24
2 Sebastian Buemi Toro Rosso STR5 1:21.031 39
3 Nico Hulkenberg Williams FW32 1:22.243 55
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari F10 1:22.895 34
5 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber C29 1:23.287 24
6 Jenson Button McLaren MP4-25 1:24.947 39
7 Tonio Liuzzi Force India VJM03 1:24.968 29
8 Vitaly Petrov Renault R30 1:25.440 9
9 Mark Webber Red Bull RB6 1:26.502 47
10 Timo Glock Virgin VR-01 1:38.737 5
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