On the first day of the final Formula One test in Barcelona, Mark Webber has managed to top the timesheets as Red Bull look to assert their dominance before the season begins.
Difficult weather conditions meant that times only became reliable towards the end of the session, and a red flag also delayed running after Felipe Massa stopped out on track. The rain meant that the teams were able to try out all compounds of Pirelli tire on offer in 2013, but before the track dried out it was Webber who led. Eventually, Massa moved onto the softer rubber, and the Ferrari driver set the first competitive times.
However, following the red flag, it was Webber and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton fighting for top spot. Both drivers went quickest at points, but a spin from Hamilton meant Webber finished the day 1.6 seconds clear.
The Australian driver expressed his satisfaction to his team following the session.
“We’ve still got more to come, but that was the most we could get done in a short limited programme in dry conditions at the end of the day.”
Behind Hamilton was Jean-Eric Vergne in third place, continuing Toro Rosso’s good testing form, and Valtteri Bottas impressed to end up fourth ahead of Sergio Perez and Esteban Gutierrez respectively.
Paul di Resta, whose teammate was finally confirmed today, finished in seventh, with Felipe Massa eighth, although Ferrari will hope that he could have challenged Webber had it not been for the stoppage.
Marussia’s Max Chilton put the rumors surrounding his teammate to the back of his mind to finish ahead of Charles Pic. It would appear the Anglo-Russian team has the edge over Caterham in 2013. Romain Grosjean propped up the timesheets, twelve seconds off Webber’s time.
Although it is difficult to truly understand testing performance, Red Bull will undoubtedly be pleased with their pace in both the dry and wet in Barcelona today.
1. Mark Webber Red Bull – 1:22.693
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes – 1:24.348 +1.655
3. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso – 1:25.017 + 2.324
4. Valtteri Bottas Williams – 1:26.458 + 3.765
5. Sergio Perez McLaren – 1:26.538 +3.845
6. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber – 1:26.574 +3.881
7. Paul di Resta Force India – 1:27.107 +4.414
8. Felipe Massa Ferrari – 1:27.541 +4.848
9. Max Chilton Marussia – 1:28.166 +5.473
10. Charles Pic Caterham – 1:28.644 +5.951
11. Romain Grosjean Lotus – 1:34.928 +12.235