BARCELONA, Spain, Feb 28, 2013 (AFP) – It was tough day for all those at the Circuit of Catalunya. Merciless weather did not allow for teams and drivers to run their scheduled programs, and most decided to take a more conservative approach and test their cars without much pressure under the contextual meteorological set-up.
McLaren could not scape that reality and today’s driver, Sergio Perez, had to choose for long runs that rendered 100 laps, which surely provided a lot of data. However, when it comes to mind that only a session is left for the Mexican driver before the season starts, things look a bit grayish, just like the recent weather.
Overnight heavy rain and constant drizzle throughout the morning meant it was a slow start to the final pre-season test of 2013. Lewis Hamilton was the man of the morning and clocked the best time, but then in the afternoon Webber was able to put dry tyres at the very end and left everyone behind.
Perez best mark was almost four seconds slower, but again, second best was Hamilton and still was a second and half away from the Australian.
All in all, Perez uneasiness with the lack of proper mileage and deep understanding of the MP4-28 is evident. Today’s experience might’ve helped to gather enough info for rainy conditions, but it does not bring the most important info, which is about the car’s true potential over dry surfaces.
“Basically today we didn't learn about the set-up, we were learning about the [wet and intermediate] tyres and how they behave and the crossover to go from wets to inters. That from a driver point of view is important, but on the set-up there is a lot of work to be done in the next couple of days for us and they will be very important days for the start of the season.
"We definitely would like to be going into Melbourne with a lot more information than we have at the moment. We had a couple of difficult days with a few problems getting the information from the car, but in the end it's important that we maximize our chances and I'm sure everybody in the paddock has had some problems." Perez said.
The Mexican is looking forward for Saturday to arrive as warm and dry conditions are expected, something probably expected by all in the paddock.
"On the last day I would really like to learn about the updates on the car and about the set-up - to get comfortable with the set-up.
"The last day I was here I was not comfortable with the set-up I had and we've done some changes and I would like to try them before Melbourne. If I don't get the opportunity to try them then we have to look forward into Melbourne and there's nothing else we can do." He added.
Like most drivers and teams, Perez is having a hard to decipher who has the best machine, and basically only Saturday and Sunday will help to see have a better grasp of reality.
"If we don't get a dry day before Melbourne it will be so difficult to judge where the grid is. At the moment we don't know - we know we are quick but we don't know how quick. I think with everyone it depends on their updates as well and how big their updates are and how big an advantage you can take from set-up and updates ... we will see in Melbourne." The mexican driver said.