Jerez Day 2: Button Fastest As Mercedes Powered Teams Have Upper Hand – It’s Still Early Days

From GranPrix 247

After missing out on doing any running on the first day of Formula 1 testing at Jerez, Jenson Button topped the timing sheets in the Mercedes MP4-29 at the end of the second day of testing in Spain, where Mercedes engine power appears to have the edge over their rivals.

Collectively all four Mercedes powered teams amassed 212 laps on the day at a theoretical average of 53 laps per team. With Marussia absent, there were only two Ferrari powered cars in action on the day – Sauber and Ferrari – who between notched up 100 laps at an average of 50 laps.

But it was Renault powered teams, including world champions Red Bull, who have really suffered with only two of the four out on track on day two and the two only managing 19 laps – Caterham with 11 and Red Bull with 8. Not a good hit rate for the French engine builder.

At the sharp end Button racked up 43 laps and finished the day with the best time of 1:24.165 which he set late in the day on Pirelli mediums, which was three seconds up on the best time set on day one, and thankfully faster than a GP2 has ever been around the former grand prix circuit. Albeit six seconds adrift of the best time of 1:18.218 by Romain Grosjean on the same day (and venue) last year.

Nevertheless Button and the McLaren crew would have been encouraged by their day in southern Spain, as 24 hours earlier they were rushing against time to be ready. Topping the timing screens is perhaps relatively meaningless to most, but on the day it is sure to have given the Woking outfit a mighty boost.

Ferrari enjoyed another fruitful day with Kimi Raikkonen amassing 47 laps on his way to setting the second best time of the day which was a tad over half second down on Button’s best.

After only completing seven laps a day earlier, Valterri Bottas and Williams will have been relieved add another 35 tours to their tally, and end the day third fastest on the harder Pirelli tyres.

Busiest man out on track was Nico Rosberg who did a whopping 97 laps on his way to setting the fourth fastest lap. Notably he did a couple of very long trouble free stints during the course of the day.

Sergio Perez was fifth fastest in the Force India, but it was not all plain sailing for the Mexican on the day as the VJM07 stopped out on track, with smoke swirling out the back, shortly before 15:00 pm local time.

Earlier in the day,just before noon, Esteban Gutierrez prompted the first red flag stoppage when he spun the Sauber and ended up in the gravel.

MyTake

The only point of interest about today for me are the issues Red Bull are experiencing. This is the consecutive four-time world champion, eight if you are counting their titles separately. Im not under any illusions, Red Bull will be on form by the start of the season. Who knows, when we get to Melbourne the RB10 might just pick up were the RB9 left off. But a total of 10 or so laps over two days can not be the start Sebastian and company were looking for.

Both McLaren and Ferrari have already found between three and two seconds respectfully in just one day and if this continues I don’t think we will have to worry too much about the lack of pace from this years new formula. As has been stated already by many experts with much more racing knowledge than this blogger, we will not have a clear picture of anything just yet. Obviously there are some teething issues, but Mercedes racked up just under a hundred laps today, which must be a sign of encouragement for all the teams that the engine and energy recovery units can work properly. The only question is for how long? Results below:

-jp-

P Drivers Teams Times Gap Laps
1 J.Button McLaren 1.24.165 43
2 K.Raikkonen Ferrari 1.24.812 +0.647 47
3 V.Bottas Williams 1.25.344 +1.179 35
4 N.Rosberg Mercedes 1.25.588 +1.423 97
5 S.Perez Force India 1.28.376 +4.211 37
6 E.Gutierrez Sauber 1.33.270 +9.105 53
7 M.Ericsson Caterham 1.37.975 +13.810 11
8 S.Vettel Red Bull 1.38.320 +14.155 8
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