Formula 1 News

Schumacher in form at Jerez testing

Mark Webber registered the best times for cars running on 2012 specifications.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012

JEREZ, Spain, Feb 8, 2012 (AFP) - Seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher set the fastest time in Wednesday's testing here clocking a fastest lap time of 1min 18.561sec in the morning session and completing 132 laps.

Once again, the rain and snow which is hitting most of Europe was nowhere to be seen as conditions remained completely dry in the south or Spain. However, it was a distinctly cooler day as ambient temperatures reached highs of 12°C (54°C) – some seven degrees down on the highest figures of Tuesday.

The 43-year-old German veteran was half a second faster in his Mercedes than Australian ace Mark Webber in the new Red Bull RB8 with Daniel Ricciardo another half second further back for Toro Rosso.

Frenchman Jules Bianchi also impressed as the Force India reserve driver was fourth-fastest in the new VJM05.

While Schumacher was racing last year's model Webber timed 1:19.184 for the best effort by any of the drivers trying out the new season variant.

Former champion Kimi Raikkonen had been fastest on Tuesday in his Lotus-Renault but the winner of 18 grands prix, returning to Formula One after two years away, five years on from his title-winning exploits with Ferrari, was less fortunate Wednesday.

First, the Finn ran wide and could then only manage a best time of 1:20.239 as he turned in 117 laps.

Felipe Massa was only seventh-fastest for Ferrari, just ahead of former champ Jenson Button of McLaren, Massa's 1:20.454 best effort 1.893sec off Schumacher's pace as the majority of the drivers preferred to use the session as get-to-know-you time for the new cars and work on reliability.

Referring to Schumacher, Webber said: "That's a 2011 car and it shows we've still a way to go with the 2012 cars."

Massa said putting the new cars through their paces was "a lot of work" but he insisted that "first impressions are positive, this car has huge potential for progression. It just takes time to construct the complete package so that she is at one and the same time consistent and competitive."

Massa will Thursday hand over to Spanish stablemate and double world champion Fernando Alonso.

Below are the times for the session:

Pos.
Driver
Chassis
Time
Laps
1
Michael Schumacer
Mercedes W02
1:18.561
132
2
Mark Webber
Red Bull RB8
1:19.184
97
3
Daniel Ricciardo
Toro Rosso STR7
1:19.587
100
4
Jules Bianchi
Force India VJM05
1:20.221
46
5
Kimi Raikkonen
Lotus E20
1:20.239
117
6
Paul di Resta
Force India VJM05
1:20.272
69
7
Felipe Massa
Ferrari F2012
1:20.454
95
8
Jenson Button
McLaren MP4-27
1:20.688
85
9
Sergio Perez
Sauber C31
1:20.711
68
10
Pastor Maldonado
Williams FW34
1:21.197
97
11
Heikki Kovalainen
Caterham CT01
1:21.518
139
12
Pedro de la Rosa
HRT F111
1:22.518
64

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