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Page last updated at 16:18 GMT, Sunday, 28 February 2010

Sunday testing as it happened


To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide). (Not all contributions can be used)

By Mark Orlovac

1610: That's it from me. Thanks for your company over the last four days. During the Barcelona test, each day has seen a different team setting the fastest time, with Lewis Hamilton setting the quickest time overall with a 1:20.472. We will not know the full picture of where everyone stands until Bahrain but as Martin Brundle said earlier: "Ferrari are the best in terms of good pace and reliability, and their tyre management seems strong. Next up is probably Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes with Williams and Sauber hustling behind."

I'll see you bright and breezy on the morning of 12 March as we begin our coverage from Bahrain. The stage is set - I can't wait.

jonnybario on 606: "Well I'm certainly done! Roll on Bahrain - it looks very tight at the top - at least seven teams appear to be in with a shout for some decent points I reckon."

1600: That's it, pre-season testing for the 2010 campaign is completed. Here's the best times from Sunday: Hamilton (1:20.472), Webber (1:20.496), Massa (1:20.539), Sutil (1:20.611), Vettel (1:20.667), Schumacher (1:20.745), Barrichello (1:20.870), Kobayashi (1:20.911), Buemi (1:22.135), Kubica 1:23.175), Kovalainen (1:25.251), Di Grassi (1:26.160).

1558: One last push. The three cars that caused the recent red flags are not out, but everyone else is.

Mercedes on Twitter: "Final five minutes of pre-season testing coming up now the track has gone green! 119 laps for Michael so far with his best still a 1:20.745."

Ferrari on Twitter: "It was a busy afternoon for Felipe, mainly working on tyre behaviour on long runs. Too many red flags!"

1546: Another red flag, that's three in the last 30 minutes or so. The Lotus of Heikki Kovalainen has stopped. More frustration for the Virgin team: "Just putting the finishing touches to the car. And of course - a red flag!"

Williams driver Rubens Barrichello on Twitter: "Hello. We saved the best for last but unfortunately had to stop due to a hydraulic problem. Car is good, now Bahrain."

Renault on Twitter: "20 mins of track time left and the pack-up is well under way. The motorhome is being dismantled around me..."

Get involved on 606
MajorDanby on 606: "Are these last 20 mins going to be what we have been waiting for these last 15 days of testing?"

1535: Away we go, 25 minutes left.

BBC F1 commentator Jonathan Legard: "Red Bull are getting very protective of the RB6. When Mark Webber returned to the garage, the mechanics rushed out not just with a rear wing and diffuser cover but the big screens that are usually wheeled across the front of the garage were out as soon as Webber screeched to a halt in the pitlane. The screens and the car were then pushed back in unison. What top secrets is designer Adrian Newey trying to hide?"

1529: I'm loving the statements from bullish Serbian F1 hopefuls Stefan GP. Here's their latest missive:

"SGP would like to re-confirm its desire and, importantly, its ability to compete in the whole of the FIA 2010 Formula One World Championship.

"It recognises that this can only happen with the consent of the FIA and the FOM, but has faith that the Formula One 'family' will make the correct decision in the end.

"There will be no more press releases on this subject and we look forward to being allowed to show everyone our team in Bahrain."

1523: Another stoppage, Barrichello's Williams has ground to a halt out on the track. That's two red flags for the Brazilian today as well now.

BBC F1 commentator Jonathan Legard: "Thierry Henry is here as a guest of Lewis Hamilton. He's down in the garage talking to the McLaren driver now he's out of the car after his race simulation. The former Arsenal striker is now playing for Barcelona and so was invited to come down and watch. Apparently, Hamilton and Henry met and became friends through mutual sponsors. I wonder if Hamilton needs a helping hand from the Frenchman? It got France to the World Cup finals of course..."

1520: We are off again. Just 40 minutes of pre-season testing left.

1512: A third red flag of the day and a second for Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi. His car stops on the track with Michael Schumacher nearing the end of his race simulation. Kobayashi is currently eighth in the timesheets with a best of 1:20.911.

Renault on Twitter: "Long runs over for now. Time for some set-up work in the final hour."

1506: The Virgin team are still struggling with the hydraulic difficulties they had earlier in the day. Here's their latest Twitter update: "We are still suffering a similar problem to the one before lunch." Meanwhile, Force India's Adrian Sutil has set a time of 1:20.611, the fourth fastest of the day, during his qualifying simulation.

BBC pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "The 'race' is over for Lewis Hamilton. He did a 1:23.4 on his last lap - when the fuel would be at its lowest - which is around a second slower than Ferrari's Felipe Massa did at the end of his 'race' on Saturday. We should still be wary of direct comparisons as Lewis was on his second set of tyres for a much longer stint than Massa. Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher has made the second pit stop of his race simulation. It was 5.5 seconds but not the three seconds we've been hearing the teams have been targeting."

1456: BBC Sport's Sarah Holt has just spoken to Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn, who says the Barcelona test has shown that the top four teams "are all pretty close". Read the full story here.

BBC pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Lewis Hamilton is just about to complete his race simulation for McLaren while Mercedes' Michael Schumacher is mid-way through his. Hamilton was riding right on Schumacher's gearbox but has now managed to pass him. The McLaren mechanics on the pit wall are absolutely loving it and are taking photos of the pair duelling on the track."

A celeb has been spotted
1432: Celeb alert at the Barcelona track. Autosport's Jon Noble has just spotted striker Thierry Henry in the paddock. Not only does that call for a celeb graphic but now his photo might have to come to the front of the picture pouch in my wallet. Sorry Mrs Orlovac.

Mercedes on Twitter: "Pit stop for Michael and he's back out for the second stint of his race simulation."

Force India on Twitter: "Adrian now onto shorter runs, going into qualifying sims to finish the day."

BBC F1 analyst Martin Brundle: "I'm not sure we will know the answer on true 2010 form until the end of the first race in Bahrain. But even then, we are still not going to be able to say 'here's the form book for the year' because different circuits, different temperatures, different types of tarmac and tyre compounds will make things variable throughout the season. Having said all of that, what's absolutely clear is that right now Ferrari are the best in terms of good pace and reliability, and their tyre management seems strong. Next up is probably Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes with Williams and Sauber hustling behind."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt on Twitter: "Fallen into something of a long-run lull at media HQ but an Italian journalist has made me jump cheering a goal in a far-off football match."

Get involved on 606
Pandora's gearbox on 606: "Good time there by Webber. Hopefully we'll see a trouble-free race simulation from Red Bull in a bit."

1414: Loads more drivers out on track now. Red Bull's Mark Webber sets the second fastest time of the day with a 1:20.496.

BBC F1 commentator Jonathan Legard: "I caught up with Virgin Racing team boss John Booth in between sessions to see how the final day of testing is going before their big F1 debut in Bahrain. He said he was happy enough but that they have now modified their plans for this afternoon's race simulation by Lucas di Grassi. The aim is to do a full race but broken up into blocks of laps, giving them a chance to practise pit stops, starts - which they only did for the first time on Saturday - and other race day procedures."

1405: Only three men out and about on the circuit now after Massa's Ferrari comes in. Hamilton, Kubica and Schumacher are the drivers on track.

Renault on Twitter: "Robert's race distance is going nicely. He'll be in for a pit stop in a couple of laps."

BBC pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "It's not been a great start to the afternoon for Mark Webber. He's only done 10 laps in the first 40 minutes as Red Bull continue to make set-up changes to the car. Lewis Hamilton is 20 laps into a race simulation for McLaren and is lapping around a second quicker than Jenson Button did in his race sim on Saturday. Felipe Massa is also on a long run but is eight tenths off Hamilton as things stand. I spoke to Ross Brawn and Norbert Haug over lunch. There's no extra pressure coming from Mercedes to win straight away while Brawn hopes the big package they have for Bahrain will put them up with Ferrari and Red Bull. And while everyone else was eating lunch at the Mercedes motorhome, Nico Rosberg went out for a run on the track, seeing as its Michael Schumacher who's been doing likewise in the car."

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton happy with McLaren progress

We've got a nice bit of video from McLaren's Lewis Hamilton looking ahead to the new season and we've also put up the latest gossip tittle-tattle. Today's version has an update on new F1 team Campos. Read all about it here.

1332: Race simulations for some of the drivers now. Hamilton and Kubica are both out while Massa has just rejoined the fray. It's a busy track, there's only two and a half hours of pre-season testing left.

Force India on Twitter: "Adrian about to resume race distance run, 15 laps left to go."

1317: Mark Webber has taken over the Red Bull from Vettel and gradually improves to set the ninth fastest time of the day, a 1:23.090.

Renault on Twitter: "Afternoon session under way. The plan is to evaluate the new front wing try for the race distance."

1306: We're off and running again, and not just in Barcelona. We hope that our technical issue has now been resolved, so this page should auto-refresh. Awesome. I'll hold my hands up and admit that it may have been me that caused it but we'll just gloss over that and not mention it again. Right, the Renault of Robert Kubica and Lucas di Grassi's Virgin are the first cars to make a move this afternoon.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Barcelona: "I've just come from a media huddle with Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn. He admitted that Mercedes were not quite on the pace yet, saying they were 'a few 10ths off where we want to be'. But he's confident the updates they will have at the first race in Bahrain will close the gap. He said Ferrari had looked consistently quick, whereas Mercedes and Red Bull had come into the game later on. We'll do a story on his exact quotes in a little while."

AEROFOIL on 606: "I rather suspected Hamilton would come through with a fast time. Of course there's still this afternoon so we will see which team comes out on top. I still think the WDC will ultimately be between Hamilton and Massa."

BBC F1 analyst Martin Brundle: "They call testing the winter grand prix but it hasn't even been that this year. Despite all the kidology that goes on - who's quick and who's not, who's hot and who's not - there are two reasons why testing is so difficult to read this year, even more so than usual. The rain, particularly in Jerez has reduced half of the days to wet running. More so, the ban on in-race refuelling means the cars can now carry up to 170 kilos of fuel, which has altered things.

"Some of these teams are testing with 100 kilos of fuel on board and some with 50 and that means a difference of around 1.5 seconds per lap of fuel. So you're not comparing apples with apples as you don't know what teams are running on. The only time you can really tell is when the cars head off on a long run.

"It seems absolutely clear that 2010 is all about managing tyres and to an extent brakes. You are adding 25% to the weight of the car, including the driver, just with the fuel, and the teams will have to compensate for that. To have a car that works in qualifying trim with no fuel and then to work well with all the race fuel on board whilst managing the tyres is hard to do - that's going to be the story of 2010."

Virgin Racing on Twitter: "Great effort by the team to get the car out before lunch!"

BBC F1 commentator Jonathan Legard on Twitter: "Stage set for race runs on last afternoon of testing. Hamilton best time, Vettel most laps so far."

Mercedes on Twitter: "That's us done for lunch... 55 laps completed for Michael this morning."

1200: The flag drops and we have an hour's break. Again, many apologies that this page is not working properly. We will now proceed to work as hard as a Virgin mechanic to try and get this page sorted out for the afternoon. Here's a summary of the times: Hamilton (1:20.472), Massa (1:20.539), Vettel (1:20.667), Schumacher (1:20.745), Barrichello (1:20.925), Buemi (1:22.135), Kobayashi (1:22.713), Sutil (1:23.079), Kubica (1:24.293), Kovalainen (1:25.251), Di Grassi (1:26.790).

Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne on Twitter: "Weight distribution test finished with positive result. Now preparing car for race distance in the afternoon."

Virgin Racing on Twitter: "We hope to get back out before lunch, we had a recurrence of a hydraulic problem, mileage related, that's fixed in our Bahrain package."

Lotus driver Heikki Kovalainen on Twitter: "Really productive morning here at BCN, managed to do plenty of laps, looking forward to break 150 laps in the afternoon!"

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt on Twitter: "Hamilton's on fire! Not literally, you'll be relieved to know. He now collects the fastest test time in Barcelona going top with 1:20.472."

1113: Many apologies, we're having a few technical problems with our auto-refresh at the moment. Please stick with us while we try to sort it out. While we do, could you do me a favour and press the f5 button to get your updates. Tidy.

Renault on Twitter: "Robert's back on track completing an out lap. Then we'll launch into that set-up programme. It's going to be a busy afternoon."

1056: Vettel moves his Red Bull up to third with a 1:21.660 while Massa sets the fastest time of the Barcelona test with a 1:20.539 on a short stint. Barrichello is fourth after a 1:21.741.

BBC Sport pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "It's a gearbox problem for Robert Kubica. The Renault driver did an installation lap earlier in the morning and was quite happy about how the car felt. When he returned to the garage the engineers discovered a problem with the transmission and they've been working on it for a good couple of hours now but hope to have him out soon. It's a shame because the track temperature is climbing, making a more representative picture for tyre performance."

Virgin Racing on Twitter: "Set up change, practice start. So testing continues."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt on Twitter: "Best pals Schumacher and Massa are trading fastest laps. Schumi goes 1:20.920 and then Massa topples him with 1:20.834. Good stuff."

From Simon via text on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 "Hello there. As there are a limited number of testing days, why don't the teams test both cars at the same time?"
Hi Simon, the simple answer is that the teams agreed to only test one car as part of measures to reduce costs.

BBC pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz in Barcelona: "The biggest crowd in the pits is, as ever, around Michael Schumacher's garage. After his first five-lap run for Mercedes this morning, he came back in, practised a pit-stop with the team's new quick-release front and rear jacks. As the car was wheeled back into the garage - with smoke gently rising from the rear brakes - Schumacher was all hand gestures and fast talking. There's no sign of Mercedes' new diffuser here today. They would have liked to have had it ready for the final day's testing but the first time we'll see it is on Friday in Bahrain."

1018: Green flag and we are off again. Brazil's Rubens Barrichello takes his Williams out for the first time since his off earlier today and improves to eighth with a 1:23.568. Buemi's Toro Rosso is in fourth after a 1:22.402.

1016: I do apologies for my tardiness, I haven't yet told you about how you can get involved in today's commentary. Don't worry, I'll send myself to the naughty step after I've typed this. Here we go: there's 606, you can text me on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 or there's the very funky Twitter. Get involved and I'll use as many contributions as I can. We even had a song composed yesterday, so there's a high standard to live up to.

1008: Massa now goes top of the timesheets with a 1:21.014 - and we have the second red flag of the morning, Kobayashi's Sauber has stopped on the track. The luckless Virgin team, who only did 31 laps yesterday, are again bemoaning the bad timing. Virgin Racing on Twitter: "Just about to strap Lucas in the car. And the red flag comes out... "

1003: Some interesting chat from defending champion Jenson Button after he completed his pre-season testing programme on Saturday. His McLaren had major upgrades, a new front wing, diffuser, engine cover and exhausts, and the 30-year-old said: "The car is good but there is still room for improvement. I'm reasonably happy with it. There's more to come. There are areas we know we were a little bit weak in but they are areas we can change with set-up. I'm happy with the car that we have but I don't think we're getting the maximum out of the package we have."

BBC F1 commentator Jonathan Legard in Barcelona: "I caught up with Virgin Racing technical director Nick Wirth before running this morning and he tells me the team are aiming to do their first full race distance later on Sunday. He's very conscious about the team's lack of mileage and the question marks over their reliability. Wirth fully admits the team are behind schedule because of the various problems the team have and they still have plenty of procedural checks to complete. But he couldn't conceal his excitement about the coming aerodynamic upgrade for Bahrain."

Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne on Twitter: "Looking at some weight distribution tests now with Heikki."

0954: Qualifying simulation for Schumacher, he does a very short stint and sets the fastest time of the day so far, 1:21.039. Massa improves to 1:21.162.

0950: The line-up for the other teams looks like this: Mercedes - Michael Schumacher, Renault - Robert Kubica, Force India - Adrian Sutil, Lotus - Heikki Kovalainen, Toro Rosso - Sebastien Buemi, Virgin - Lucas di Grassi. Sebastian Vettel will drive the Red Bull this morning following his truncated session on Saturday with Australian Mark Webber taking over later. Lots of movement on the track, Massa improves his best time to a 1:21.269 after his Ferrari mechanics rapidly resolve the problem with his car, Schumacher is second after a 1:21.318, Hamilton is third after improving to 1:22.397.

0939: Here's a quick update of what has happened so far today. Ferrari's Felipe Massa has set the fastest time of the morning, a 1:21.849, but the team report that: "Last day of testing didn't start with too much luck for Felipe Massa. A technical issue will keep him in the garage for a while." They also say the track is a bit slower than the previous three days. Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi is second quickest with a 1:22.713 with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton currently third after a 1:22.777. There's been one red flag already, after Williams driver Rubens Barrichello visited the gravel. He's ninth quickest so far.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Barcelona: "This is it. The final day of pre-season testing; the last chance saloon for Formula 1's teams to put their cars through their paces before the season begins in Bahrain in two weeks' time. Over the four tests in Spain, Ferrari appear to have a slight advantage in terms of raw speed and consistency but there are still plenty of questions still to be answered on Sunday. Have main protagonists Red Bull and rookies Virgin both solved their reliability problems? Will former world champions Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton unleash their Mercedes and McLaren chargers? Or will we have to wait until Bahrain for definitive answers? Um, probably."

0935: Hello. It's a grey, dismal, windy and decidedly moist morning here in Shepherd's Bush, but at least it's dry (for now) in Spain for the final day of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya. It's the last chance for the teams to give their cars a run out before the Bahrain Grand Prix. It should be a busy day, welcome.

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see also
Top teams closely matched - Brawn
28 Feb 10 |  Formula 1
Sunday's F1 gossip column
28 Feb 10 |  Formula 1
Ferrari team to beat - Schumacher
27 Feb 10 |  Formula 1
Button backs McLaren to improve
27 Feb 10 |  Formula 1
Saturday's F1 gossip column
27 Feb 10 |  Formula 1
Williams novice upstages Alonso
26 Feb 10 |  Formula 1

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