Sunday March 3, 2013
Grosjean sets best time on second day of testing
BARCELONA: France’s Romain Grosjean, in a Lotus, set the fastest time in Formula One testing on Friday, making the most of dry afternoon conditions, in marked contrast to the wet surface of the morning session.
Grosjean’s time of 1:22.716 was half a second faster than McLaren driver Jenson Button’s best of the morning at the Catalunya Circuit.
Button, the 2009 world champion, had clocked 1:25.936 before improving to 1:23.181 in the afternoon.
“Even though the weather was far from ideal it was a pretty good day for us and it’s certainly a better feeling to end the session with the fastest time on the board rather than the slowest,” said Grosjean, who will hand testing duties to Kimi Raikkonen for the final two days. “I wish I could have more time in the car before the season starts, but if we’re in the same position on the monitors when we get to Australia I’ll be very happy indeed.”
Grosjean proved to be one of the fastest, if also erratic, drivers on the circuit last season. He had three podium finishes, and expectations are high that the 26-year-old driver could get his first win in his third season behind the wheel.
Grosjean, however, was hesitant to count himself among the group of veteran front-runners that include his Lotus team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
“I don’t think (I am among the favourites) to be honest,” Grosjean said. “The car is good. That’s for sure, but let’s see for Melbourne.”
World champion Sebastian Vettel was fourth quickest in the Red Bull, a day after team-mate Mark Webber had been the fastest man on the track.
“I didn’t do that many laps today, but to be honest the weather wasn’t great and it was a pretty rough day in terms of the wind,” said the German, who drove 63 laps.
“It’s very cold as well. The tyres aren’t really working properly and I think everybody is suffering the same problem, struggling to make the tyres last for more than a lap.”
Meanwhile, Nico Rosberg put in a day-high 111 laps in his Mercedes. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was the only other driver to break the 100-lap mark with 102.
The four-day testing session ends today ahead of the start of the 2013 season in Melbourne on March 17. — Agencies