Friday morning in Barcelona was very foggy and the man who was able to beat that fog was Jean-Eric Vergne. The start of the session was postponed by the heavy mist, but later got underway and Vergne put it a 1:23.1. It was the first time in his Formula 1 career that he had topped the timesheets, which made him, and his team very happy. As the fog clears up later in the day, other drivers might be able to put in faster times, but considering Vergne's morning time was faster than Grosjean's session topping time yesterday, he won't have to worry too much.
Alonso put the F2012 where it wanted to be for the first time since the final day at Jerez a couple of weeks ago. He had been leading the session for most of the morning until his time was toppled by the Toro Rosso. When lunchtime came around, Alonso was three tenths down on Vergne's time but still was happy to be back up at the front where the Ferrari belongs.
Romain Grosjean didn't seem to be able to match his pace of yesterday, but might have gone faster if he hadn't stopped on track with ten minutes left in the session. He had said yesterday that he wasn't worried about problems with the E20, and he still says that after it stopped today. Ten minutes may not be a lot, but it might have cost him nine extra laps out on track. Grosjean still looks forward to the evening, where he could do what he did yesterday.
Sebastian Vettel spent most of his morning practicing pit stops with his Red Bull team. He eventually got out on track and believe it or not, did more laps than any other driver. That's counting all the time he spent in the pits. Thirty eight laps is a low for the morning, but you have to remember the red flag at the start of the session. Unfortunately for Vettel, the extra laps weren't enough to jump Grosjean and he had to do with 4th, just .009 behind Romain.
Right after I posted the 2012 Preview, which contained info about Caterham moving up to a midfield team, it sort of happened! Heikki Kovalainen pushed the CT01 to the extremes and managed a 1:23.828, which was only seven tenths off Vergne's time. Yesterday the Caterham was ahead of one 2012 car, but today it was ahead of five other cars, most of which have been at the top of the table at some point over the course of the Barcelona tests.
Hulkenberg probably wasn't too happy that he was outpaced by the Caterham, especially since he had been at the top of the table at Barcelona at the previous test. He only did one lap less than Kovalainen so you can't give him the advantage there either. A few strange results from Force India can't make you say that they're a backmarker team, because everyone has their highs and lows. And if you pointed out to Hulkenberg who he was faster than, it might put him in a better mood.
The man I'm talking about is Lewis Hamilton, who came off a good day for McLaren and was only seventh fastest in the morning. He still has the evening to jump up the timesheets, but it's always harder to do so in the afternoon. You could still take what Romain Grosjean did yesterday, which was quite something, and say that Lewis could do the same, but he'll need to really get into his head and really push the car to the limits if he had any chance of doing that.
Mercedes still haven't found the pace they wanted in testing, and Michael Schumacher wasn't finding it either. It wasn't his fault that he didn't get a fast lap in, it was the lack of time on track. He only managed nineteen laps because he stopped on track, and spun into the gravel, which cause two of the seven red flags in the morning half of the session. If his evening session is more consistent, he might pull his way back up the pack.
Maldonado didn't have his way any better. He was the first person to stop out on track and it took the team over an hour to fix the car. Pastor only did twenty laps of the Barcelona track, but if he doesn't have problems in the afternoon, he could make up for his lost time out on track. Kobayashi might need to do the same as Sauber mainly focused on setup for Kamui's car.
Note: The teams will get the half an hour they missed at the start of the morning session added on to the afternoon session so they have the same amount of time as they would on a normal day.
These results are going to change, but for now, here they are:
|1.||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso STR7||1:23.126||31 Laps|
|2.||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari F2012||1:23.447||35|
|3.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus E20||1:23.528||34|
|4.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull RB8||1:23.536||38|
|5.||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham CT01||1:23.828||34|
|6.||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India VJM05||1:23.893||33|
|7.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren MP4-27||1:24.111||30|
|8.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes W03||1:24.663||19|
|9.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams FW34||1:25.801||20|
|10.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber C31||1:26.111||35|