Romain Grosjean emerged at the top of the timesheets on day two of the opening F1 group test at Jerez, lowering the benchmark set by Jenson Button on Tuesday.
The Frenchman spent most of the day in P1, moving to the head of the pack before the mid-point of the day and then trimming six-tenths off that mark before the majority of the runners switched to focus on long run evaluations during the afternoon. Grosjean, who hands over the reins of the lone E21 to Kimi Raikkonen tomorrow (Thursday), ended the day with a best time of 1min 18.218secs, having completed 95 laps of the Jerez circuit.
“It was good today, as the programme went to plan and we showed we have good reliability,” the Frenchman insisted, “For me, the whole test has gone well which bodes well for the year ahead. My feeling in the car is good and it was great to be at the top of the times. Even if it doesn't mean anything during testing, it's still good to be at the front.”
Under blue skies, Grosjean worked through a programme of systems checks, temperature monitoring, data correlation, aero evaluation and tyre performance assessment., but ended his day stranded out on track after running dry.
We used the soft, medium and hard compounds and, whilst we're not 100 per cent yet on the differences between each, we have a good idea. Kimi [Raikkonen] will be working on this area for the next two days, so we'll have a better understanding when we head to Barcelona.”
Second spot went to Paul di Resta, who appeared on course to rack up the day's highest lap total before having to hand his Force India car over to fellow Briton James Rossiter in the final hour. The Scot eventually matched Grosjean's 95-lap tally, and was only a couple of tenths shy of the Frenchman's target time by the time his day ended.
"We got through the programme without any issues,” di Resta acknowledged, “We did some more good aero work this morning and then tried some set-up changes on the car. The handling of the car so far is good and I'm feeling comfortable after two days in the car. Testing is a good chance to make bigger changes than you would make during a race weekend and that's allowed us to really see how they affect the car and has given us valuable data on tyre performance."
Daniel Ricciardo led the way early on, pushing his Toro Rosso to a lap of 1min 19.487secs in the opening flurry of laps, but, despite being pushed back by both Grosjean and di Resta, managed to keep himself in the top three, eventually lowering his personal best by three-tenths. The engineers were able to carry out their first scan of the car in terms of set-up, while the day's programme also included some long runs to have a first look at the car in race trim.
“A few more laps today and a bit of a clearer picture of what the STR8 is like,” Ricciardo noted, “We completed our programme, with short runs in the morning and longer ones in the afternoon, and also tried the medium [compound] Pirelli, having only used the hard yesterday, so, at least for this circuit, we have established a good comparison of the two.”