Webber sets fastest lap on opening day of final testing at Barcelona

The final Formula One preseason testing is underway at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. The weather was a mix of rain showers and gusty winds, but they ended the day on a dry track.

Mark Webber turned a lap of 1:22.693 toward the final minutes of the afternoon session on the 4.655km Circuit de Catalunya. The Australian placed his Infiniti Red Bull-Renault over Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton by 1.655 of a second. As it turned out the teams actually had just one hour at the end to set the fastest laps. Webber was on the soft-compound Pirelli tyres on a dry track when he turned the top laptime of the day.

He also toured the circuit for 90 laps in the RB9, and despite the heavy winds in Barcelona, Spain, Webber commented on the day: “It was pretty heavy, I must say. There was a big tailwind down to Turn One and in other sections it was pretty dusty. The level of wind wasn’t trivial but to be honest it was tricky enough anyway because of the greasy conditions on the track.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W04 passes a rainbow
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W04 passes a rainbow

Photo by: XPB Images

Hamilton’s time was a 1:24.348 with a total of 113 laps. In the dry conditions, the Briton was on the Pirelli intermediate tyres, and toward the final laps was using the medium compound tyres. “The track started out really wet this morning but thankfully the conditions dried out later on and we were able to complete some proper running. It felt good to work through the race simulation this afternoon; both to get myself back in practice and to put valuable miles on the car,” he said.

Hamilton made the change to the Mercedes works team this year and he said, “All the guys have done a fantastic job both here and at the factory. I'm really happy that we're making progress together and very much enjoying working with everyone. The last couple of days of pre-season testing are always really exciting when everyone starts to add their upgrades so I'm looking forward to the weekend.”

Third today was a surprise as Jean-Eric Vergne set his best lap at 1:25.017 in the Scuderia Toro Rosso STR8. Like the other teams, Vergne spent most of the day on rain tyres and intermediates, which was good since Pirelli had made changes to their wet weather tyres for the 2013 season. Vergne and the team engineers were able to do aerodynamic work, including the evaluation of a few new components.

Jean-Eric Vergne, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR8
Jean-Eric Vergne, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR8

Photo by: XPB Images

Vergne commented: “Not the best of days, because we had many things to test and the rain meant we were not able to get that much done, but we have to remember that the other teams have similar programmes and the rain affects everyone. The car seems to behave really well in the wet and it also felt good in the dry, during the few laps I managed at the end of the day.”

There are three more days left for the teams to complete their development work and evaluate new components and setups. The Australian Grand Prix is looming closer.

Unofficial times

Pos. Driver Car Time Laps
1 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:22.693 90
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:24.348 113
3 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:25.017 59
4 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:26.458 85
5 Sergio Perez McLaren 1:26.538 100
6 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:26.574 92
7 Paul Di Resta Force India 1:27.107 57
8 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:27.541 112
9 Max Chilton Marussia 1:28.166 78
10 Charles Pic Caterham 1:28.644 83
11 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:34.928 52
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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mark Webber , Lewis Hamilton , Felipe Massa , Sergio Perez , Romain Grosjean , Max Chilton , Esteban Gutierrez , Charles Pic , Valtteri Bottas , Jean-Eric Vergne
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Force India , Toro Rosso , Williams
Article type Testing report
Tags barcelona, circuit de catalunya, ferrari, hamilton, infiniti red bull, mercedes, renault, toro rosso, vergne, webber