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McLaren’s Sergio Pérez topped the timesheets on the second day of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya, producing a personal best effort of 1:21.848 on the Soft tyres. The Mexican led Red Bull rival Sebastian Vettel – who suffered a late stoppage – by 0.349 seconds, while Lotus driver Kimi Räikkönen finished third.
Although it was another chilly start at the Montmeló venue on Wednesday, air and track temperatures rose much higher than 24 hours ago. This provided better conditions for long runs and race simulations, which most teams took advantage of at some stage. Pérez completed his planned Soft tyre stint shortly after the one hour lunch break, launching ahead of Vettel who had again set the pace for most of the day.
Trouble hit both the aforementioned Vettel and third-place man Räikkönen today, with the latter enduring the worst misfortune. A faulty gearbox had to be replaced in his E21 after just four laps, leaving him confined to the Lotus garage until the final two hours. In Vettel's case, his RB9 ground to a halt at the end of the pit lane as the day drew to a close, marking one of two stoppages. On the other end of the spectrum, Lewis Hamilton had little to worry about, completing 121 trouble-free laps for Mercedes.
A little further back, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso focused on aero runs and gathering data on the new Pirelli compounds. Although the Spaniard insists that performance work will not come until next week, the F138 is looking much more stable to drive than the initial F2012 build of last year. Valtteri Bottas, who wound up just behind the two-time World Champion, spent the early part of his day trialling a 'stepped nose' on the FW35, with Williams currently undecided on its front wing concept.
Daniel Ricciardo and Paul di Resta both shaved a little off their personal best times from Tuesday to finish seventh and eighth respectively, with Sauber's Nico Hülkenberg in close company. At the back of the order, Max Chilton – the cause of the second red flag with a fuel-out run in his Marussia – led Caterham's Charles Pic.
Pre-season testing continues at the Circuit de Catalunya at 9am local time (GMT +1) on Thursday and can be followed via the GPUpdate.net Live Report feature
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