Friday, May 7, 2010

Red Bulls Rule Friday Practice for Spanish Grand Prix

Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic

At the beginning of the three-week break, a major concern for Formula 1 teams was making the trip from China. The volcanic ash cloud that hampered commercial air travel had projected some drastic predictions that the Spanish Grand Prix could even be delayed. Fortunately through, worst case scenarios did not come into play as Formula 1 teams returned to their European bases. The Lotus Racing team reported to be back at their Norfolk headquarters by the Thursday and no other team recorded serious issues preparing for this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

With major environmental issues aside, the 2010 Formula 1 tour makes its first European stop in Barcelona, Spain. With three different cars in victory lane after 4 races, the 2010 Spanish Grand Prix hosts a close and unpredictable Formula 1 event. While the McLaren of Jenson Button has recorded two wins in 2010, wins have also gone to Red Bull Racing and Ferrari when Fernando Alonso brought the F2010 to victory in Bahrain. This 2010 season has also seen resurgent efforts from RenaultF1 and a fairly strong showing from the former Brawn GP team now known as Mercedes GP. With the teams receiving three weeks to perfect their 2010 packages, the Spanish Grand Prix might be the first time a clear breakaway team can emerge.

In Friday practice on day 1, the Circuit de Catalunya track was lit up by the Red Bull Racing pair once again showed pace through the early part of a Grand Prix weekend. As usual is the case, German Sebastian Vettel topped Australian driver Mark Webber on the time chart with a 1 minute, 19.965 second lap time. Less than two-tenths of a second faster than his teammate, Vettel was under eight-tenths quicker around the track than the 3rd place runner in practice. That 3rd place car was the Mercedes GP of Michael Schumacher who's entering Spain with a revised chassis. 3rd fastest in the first and second practice sessions, Schumacher is showing to be much more comfortable with the changes to his Mercedes W01 race car. The Friday run for Michael Schumacher was also a chance start evening up the score with his often faster teammate Nico Rosberg. In the second Mercedes GP car, Rosberg was 7th fastest through this second practice session.

While the first practice session saw the McLaren-Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton clocking the fastest time, the quickened pace in practice session two relegated the 2008 world driving champion to fifth. Jenson Button's car second fastest performance in session one could only be supported with a ninth place time on the speed sheets.

Photo Credit: Lotus Racing

Among the up and coming teams, Lotus Racing led over Virgin GP with Heikki Kovalainen leading almost a second over the Virgin-Cosworth of Timo Glock. The other Lotus-Cosworth of Jarno Trulli separated Kovalainen and Glock. Given four races of authentic Formula 1 experience, Lotus Racing, HRT, and Virgin GP were able to make use of the three-week break to evaluate their vehicles for 2010. Lotus Racing has said to be performing with upgraded components installed during the hiatus. With neither one of the 3 new teams yet to realize the top-10 points-paying positions on the Formula 1 grid, the European rounds starting with the Spanish Grand Prix might represent a chance to make a first step forward in their evolution.

No comments:

Post a Comment