McLaren's Perez sets fastest lap on second test day in Barcelona

The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team appeared to have a perfect day on the Catalunyan circuit. Sergio Perez was on top of the unofficial times in the second round of the preseason testing of the new racing machines.

Sergio Perez ended the second day of the preseason testing on the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain with the fastest time in the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. The new team driver from Mexico put 97 laps on the MP4-28 in what the team termed "an extremely productive day" with his best unofficial lap time of 1:21.848.

Perez started the day on short runs and setup changes to test the "rack-to-tunnel aero correlation" before the afternoon when the Woking, UK based team switched to the longer runs on the soft Pirelli tyres. Jenson Button will be in the cockpit for the final two days on the 4.655km circuit.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing RB9 rear diffuser
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing RB9 rear diffuser

Photo by: XPB Images

Second fastest was the three-time consecutive Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel. The German held the top time until Perez took the best unofficial time. Vettel toured the circuit for 84 laps in his Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB9, and his best lap was a 1:22.197.

Unfortunately for Vettel, he had to stop on track which ended his day early. "We had some issues with reliability today and we couldn’t do as many laps as we wanted, but I think it’s better that this kind of thing happens today rather than in Australia,” Vettel said.

The team's Race Engineer Coordinator Andy Damerum said: “The stops we had today weren’t too serious and we’ll have everything sorted for tomorrow. We know where the issues are." They hope to have clean runs tomorrow when Mark Webber will take over the RB9 as they continue in their testing mode.

With a lap time of 1:22.697, Kimi Räikkönen again showed that the Lotus F1 Renault team may end up giving the three top teams a run for the gold this season. Both the Finn and Romain Grosjean had set top times in Jerez testing, and once again Räikkönen had the E21 in the top three.

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus F1 E21 in the pits
Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus F1 E21 in the pits

Photo by: XPB Images

However, for the second day in a row it was not a perfect test session for the Lotus team as a gearbox problem in the morning cost them valuable on-track time. Grosjean will take the E21 out over the final two days.

Said Räikkönen: “If yesterday wasn’t an ideal day then today was more of the same. Fortunately, once we were able to get a lap in we could see that the car has good pace. We test to find any problems so in that respect we’re doing a good job, but it’s frustrating. It’s no secret that we want to get more laps on the board and that’s the target for the rest of this test and the final sessions next week.”

Unofficial times

Pos. Driver Car Time Laps
1 Sergio Perez McLaren 1:21.848 97
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:22.197 84
3 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus 1:22.697 43
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.726 121
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:23.247 76
6 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:23.561 98
7 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:23.718 70
8 Paul Di Resta Force India 1:23.971 62
9 Nico Hülkenberg Sauber 1:24.205 88
10 Max Chilton Marussia 1:25.115 67
11 Charles Pic Caterham 1:26.243 102
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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Mark Webber , Kimi Raikkonen , Fernando Alonso , Lewis Hamilton , Sebastian Vettel , Nico Hulkenberg , Sergio Perez , Romain Grosjean , Daniel Ricciardo , Max Chilton , Charles Pic , Valtteri Bottas
Teams Ferrari , Red Bull Racing , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Force India , Toro Rosso , Williams , Lotus F1
Article type Testing report
Tags barcelona, circuit de catalunya, ferrari, infiniti red bull, lotus, mclaren, mercedes, perez, raikkonen, renault, vettel