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Nico Rosberg topped the timesheets at the Circuit de Catalunya today as the second, and penultimate, pre-season test got underway.
Although the threatened rain never made an appearance, the skies getting very dark in the afternoon, it was somewhat cool. Almost everyone topped the timesheets at some stage or another, while at day's end the top four were covered by just 0.349s.
The leading four all posted their best times on the medium rubber, while fifth quickest Maldonado was on the softs. The best time posted on the hard rubber was achieved by Daniel Ricciardo.
Hoping the nightmare of the opening days of Jerez was well and truly behind it, things were not looking good this morning when a gearbox issue caused Rosberg to lose much of his morning running. However, he was back out for the afternoon session, with the team focusing on car balance and tyre management. By the end of the session, the German had completed a total of 54 laps on his way to posting a best time of 1:22.616. Lewis Hamilton takes over the programme.
"We had a mixed day today with some laps lost this morning," admitted Rosberg. "However we were able to work through a good programme this afternoon and, of course, it's always nice to be quickest at the end of the day. In general, I feel happy and comfortable in the car and it feels better than the last time we were here at this track. There is still some work to be done on tyre degradation and our programme this afternoon was helpful in understanding that.
Though Kimi Raikkonen completed the fewest laps of any driver today (44), he was nevertheless the second fastest for most of the day, including at the end of the afternoon session.
Telemetry data-logging issues meant the team completed fewer laps than desired, but nevertheless concluded a productive day of assessment of the second E21.
"It wasn't an ideal day in terms of the number of laps we completed," said the Finn, "but the car feels strong and we've made some good progress. After Jerez it's nice to be at a circuit where we race and the E21 is definitely a step in the right direction. There's lots of work yet to do this week but I'm happy with where we are at the moment."
"It's been a positive debut for the second chassis," added Alan Permane, the team's Trackside Operations Director. "Kimi was happy with where the car started the day, and the setup changes we've made have been positive. We had a few issues on the electronics side with the telemetry data-logging and this has cost us track time as well as the ability to conduct longer runs. Other than that, we've been able to take over from where we left off in Jerez so we're happy with that. All we need is more laps, which is our focus for tomorrow."
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