Jerez, Day Two: Romain Grosjean fastest as Lewis Hamilton crash adds to Merc's woes
Hamilton crashes out after just fifteen laps while Lotus set pace
By James Galloway at Jerez. Last Updated: 06/02/13 7:07pm
The fortunes of Mercedes and Lotus continue to run in sharp contrast in the first winter test at Jerez with Lewis Hamilton crashing out on his debut for Mercs while Romain Grosjean set Day Two's fastest in the increasingly-impressive E21.
After Mercedes had already been forced to cut short their work on Tuesday with Nico Rosberg after just 14 laps after an electrical fault, Hamilton's official test debut with the team lasted a mere one lap longer after another reliability problem, this time a rear brake failure, pitched him off the circuit and into a tyre barrier.
While the damage to the car's front wing and suspension was relatively light, the problem with the rear brakes was more fundamental, and ultimately terminal, as the team traced the fault to a hydraulic brake line connecting to the right-rear caliper.
It meant that for the second consecutive day Mercedes had to announce that they wouldn't be able to complete the session due to ongoing repairs to the car, leaving them with a mere 29 laps on the board after two days of the test.
In comparison, several teams completed more than 90 laps on Day Two alone - with Lotus in particular showing both impressive speed and reliability.
After being pipped to the fastest time on Day One, Grosjean wasn't to be denied at the second time of asking and having already topped the morning session on a 1:18.8, lowered the benchmark by a significant six tenths of a second margin to 1:18.218 on the soft tyres to underline the strong early impression made by the E21.
Another team to feature prominently on both the mileage and pace charts was Force India as Paul di Resta finished second to Grosjean, the Scot registering 95 laps and recording a best time of 1:19.003 before handing the VJM06 over to the final hour to the team's simulator driver James Rossiter.
Although Grosjean's end-of-day advantage was the best part of eight tenths of a second, the next seven drivers on the timesheet from Di Resta in second to Ferrari's Felipe Massa in eighth were covered by less than second.
Third place went to Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo - despite the STR8 stopping on track in the morning - the Australian having earlier traded times with countryman Mark Webber as World Champions Red Bull's seemingly serene start to 2013 continued. Webber became the first man this winter to top a century of laps prior to the first appearance of Sebastian Vettel on Thursday.
With Nico Hulkenberg a solid fifth for Sauber in a C32 the German says feels quick, Hamilton stayed sixth in the order despite missing the final six hours of running, just ahead of his McLaren replacement Sergio Perez.
The Mexican, after intense simulator work at Woking in recent weeks, finally got his chance to drive the MP4-28 for the first time and appeared to settle into the swing of things smoothly, completing several long runs prior to a slightly early end to his day as McLaren sought to check something at the front of the car.
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For the second straight day, Ferrari ran under the radar with their F138 as Felipe Massa finished 1.6s off Grosjean's pace. The Brazilian had spent much of the early morning in the garage as the team carried out aero assessments before several runs in the afternoon as Ferrari experimented with exhaust layouts.
"Today, we concentrated 100% on the aerodynamic side and on the exhausts," said Massa afterwards.
"In the morning, I didn't even do a flying lap because we used the time available to do constant speed runs and to analyse various aerodynamic solutions. All the changes to the car took longer than planned, but in the afternoon, I managed to do three long runs which were very important in order to understand which direction we need to follow in the coming days."
At the back of the field, Luiz Razia experienced something of a whirlwind day. The Brazilian had only just been officially confirmed as Marussia's second driver for 2013 when he made his debut in the MR02 in the morning.
But while his early work getting used to the car proved successful, the 23-year-old joined Hamilton on the sidelines from lunchtime onwards after an engine problem had left him stranded on the main straight.
Jerez Day Two timesheet
1. Romain Grosjean, 1.18.218, 95 laps
2. Paul di Resta 1:19.003, 95 laps
3. Daniel Ricciardo, 1:19.134, 83 laps
4. Mark Webber 1:19.338, 101 laps
5. Nico Hulkenberg, 1:19.502, 99 laps
6. Lewis Hamilton, 1:19.519, 15 laps
7. Sergio Perez, 1:19.572, 81 laps
8. Felipe Massa, 1:19.914, 78 laps
9. Pastor Maldonado, 1:20.693, 71 laps
10. James Rossiter, 1:21.273, 19 laps
11. Giedo van der Garde, 1:21.311, 88 laps
12 Luiz Razia, 1:23.537, 31 laps.