Buemi quickest in Jerez; Vettel unleashes RB5 potential

84702399Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi topped the timesheets on the first day of testing at Jerez in Spain, but it was Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel who took centre stage as he unleashed the potential of the new RB5, emerging as the quickest runner in a 2009-spec car.

With a gearbox problem hampering Red Bull on Monday and limiting the team to completing just 15 laps, the second day of running at Jerez proved more successful with Vettel lapping consistently quicker than Williams and McLaren, against the grain of midday showers.

Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso have yet to unveil their 2009 car but Sebastien Buemi once again showed that he will be a force to be reckoned with when he gets his hands on the new machinery by going quickest with a 1:19.660, albeit aided by 2008 downforce levels.

Williams test driver Nico Hulkenberg lapped third fastest behind Buemi and Vettel but spent the day testing an inactive KERS unit. Williams are the only team to use a flywheel system as opposed to a battery unit to store the waste energy and they are believed to be experiencing teething troubles with their device.

McLaren by contrast experienced a trouble-free day of testing with Heikki Kovalainen’s feedback proving pivotal to the development of the team’s own KERS system.

Nelson Piquet languished at the bottom of the timesheets for most of the day before clawing his way to within a second of Kovalainen at the end of the day.

“It’s a shame that we lost some track time today because at this stage of the season we need to get as many miles on the car as possible,” said Piquet.

“As the car is so new, we learn something with every lap and we have some useful data to go through this evening. The forecast looks better for tomorrow so hopefully we can continue the work we started today.”

Today’s times:

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:19.660 104
2. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:22.177 61
3. Hulkenberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:22.443 82
4. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:22.643 58
5. Piquet Renault (B) 1:23.313 35