Red Bull continue to set the pace

Red Bull retained its position as the pacesetters in Barcelona with world champion Sebastian Vettel heading the times after a stunning lap during the second day of the final test.

Vettel set the fastest time of the year at the Circuit de Catalunya on the first tour of a five lap stint before focusing on longer stints in the afternoon. The pace of Vettel today, and Webber yesterday, will have sent an ominous warning to competitors and showed that once more the Milton Keyes based team will have the fastest car on the grid.

Interestingly it was Toro Rosso that was the nearest competitor with Sebastian Buemi second fastest ahead of Vitaly Petrov. The pair both spent the morning working on race simulations before running a series of qualifying runs in the afternoon and finishing the day with pit stop practices. Buemi, and Toro Rosso, have impressed in testing thus far but it will only be in Australia that we get a clear picture of the progress that the team has actually made/

Lewis Hamilton had another difficult day with the McLaren driver hampered by a hydraulic leak and exhaust issues in the morning. Even so he managed to set a good time on a short afternoon stint. They have a troubling preseason and it looks like it will be a challenging early season for the team.

Ferrari had their first running of the week with Felipe Massa taking to the track today. The Brazilian completed 101 laps and focussed entirely on mid-distance stints. The team introduced various new parts and their pace shows that they are Red Bulls closest challengers. In stints of comparable length Massa was consistently on a par with Vettel.

Paul di Resta was sixth fastest fir Force India, just ahead of Kamui Kobayashi.

Nico Rosberg was eighth fastest for Mercedes. The team will test a host of upgrades throughout the week. Today saw them introduce a new exhaust and some body work changes. These are said to be the subtle changes that they will make with the rest of the week set to see more significant upgrades.

Jarno Trulli, Pastor Maldonado and Jerome D’Ambrosio also tested with the Williams driver severely hampered by a KERS problem that limited his running to 29 laps.

Pos  Driver             Team/Car              Time       Gap       Laps
1.  Sebastian Vettel   Red Bull-Renault      1m21.865s            112
2.  Sebastien Buemi    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m22.396s  + 0.531s  120
3.  Vitaly Petrov      Renault               1m22.670s  + 0.805s  116
4.  Lewis Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      1m22.888s  + 1.023s  57
5.  Felipe Massa       Ferrari               1m23.324s  + 1.459s  101
6.  Paul di Resta      Force India-Mercedes  1m24.334s  + 2.469s  118
7.  Kamui Kobayashi    Sauber-Ferrari        1m24.436s  + 2.571s  107
8.  Nico Rosberg       Mercedes              1m25.807s  + 3.942s  100
9.  Jarno Trulli       Lotus-Renault         1m26.090s  + 4.225s  98
10.  Pastor Maldonado   Williams-Cosworth     1m26.989s  + 5.124s  29
11.  Jerome D’Ambrosio  Virgin-Cosworth       1m28.982s  + 7.117s  64

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