Michael Schumacher responded to concerns about the pace of the new Mercedes by setting the fastest time of the second day of testing at Jerez.
The seven-time champion recorded a lap of one minute 20.352 seconds to head Ferrari’s Felipe Massa by 0.061secs.
After a slow start, Jenson Button moved up to third fastest in the new McLaren, ahead of Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari and Red Bull’s Mark Webber.
This test is the first time the 2011 McLaren has run against its rivals. And on Friday the 2009 world champion had his first run in the car after taking over from Lewis Hamilton. After running systems checks for most of the morning, Button got progressively faster as the day went on. His time of 1:21.009 was 0.657secs off Schumacher’s fastest. Button, who hands back over to Hamilton on Saturday before driving again on Sunday, said in a McLaren statement that he had spent the morning getting fitted into the car and getting used to the energy storage and power-boost system.
“I felt a lot more comfortable with the car at the end of the day after we’d played around with a few things in the cockpit. We’ve made some good progress,” Button said. “And we’ve tried the different Pirelli tyres – there are big differences across the compound range; not only in terms of lap time, but also with degradation and durability.
“It’s going to be fun for racing, I think, and it’s what everyone wanted. The TV viewers will certainly know the differences between the tyres. “It’s been a good first day. On Sunday, I hope we can start to have a crack at seeing what the car really has in it.” Webber set the initial pace early on Friday morning before the seven-time champion recorded a lap of 1:21.408 seconds to beat the Australian by 0.204secs.
T20 World Cup