Vettel and Ferrari setting the pace
Ferrari showing good pace in preseason testing
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Sebastian Vettel continued to show good pace with Ferrari in Formula One’s preseason testing on Tuesday, setting the fastest time for the second consecutive day.
Vettel was seven tenths of a second faster than Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull, who also used Pirelli’s new ultra-soft tire compound.
Vettel’s time of 1 minute, 22.810 seconds at the Circuito de Barcelona was almost two seconds quicker than the pole position in Spain last year on the same track.
Vettel also was fastest on Monday, ahead of defending F1 champion Lewis Hamilton.The only setback for Ferrari came just minutes before the end of the afternoon session, when Vettel’s car stopped on the track with an apparent mechanical problem, bringing out the red flag.
Sergio Perez was third with Force India on soft tires, and Nico Rosberg was fourth with Mercedes on medium tires, two seconds slower than Vettel’s time.
Rosberg ran 172 laps, the most of any driver. Vettel had 126. Hamilton drove 156 laps on Monday.
Two-time champion Fernando Alonso made his debut in testing by driving 119 laps, another promising sign for McLaren after a disappointing season last year.
Teammate Jenson Button had completed a total of 84 laps on Monday without any major reliability problems.
Alonso was only ninth fastest among the 11 drivers on the track on Tuesday, more than three seconds behind Vettel.Marcus Ericsson was fifth with Sauber, which will only debut its 2016 car when teams return to Barcelona for the final tests of the season on March 1-4.
Esteban Gutierrez finished sixth in a good second day for Haas, the American-led team debuting in F1 this season.
The team had to reinforce its front wings after a failure in the car driven by Romain Grosjean, who finished 10th on Monday.
Renault, returning to F1 as a full team after taking over Lotus, endured problems for the second consecutive day. British rookie driver Jolyon Palmer ran only 37 laps after software issues on Monday, then completed 42 on Tuesday before his car stopped on the track with a power-unit problem.
Kevin Magnussen will take over for the last two days of testing on Wednesday and Thursday.
A red flag came out near the end of the morning session when Max Verstappen stopped on Turn 13 with a mechanical failure in his Toro Rosso. The car had to be towed back to the garage.
Indonesian driver Rio Haryanto was scheduled to make his debut for Manor on Tuesday, but the team changed plans and said it decided to keep German Pascal Wehrlein in the driver’s seat the entire day. Wehrlein was eighth fastest.