Sebastian Vettel continued to occupy the position at the top of the times in Valencia as the second day of pre-season testing hit its half-way mark on Wednesday.
Renault’s Robert Kubica and Force India’s Paul di Resta had both had spells at the top of the times on an initially very chilly morning in eastern Spain, before Vettel – spending his second day in the new Red Bull RB7 – went fastest in the day’s second hour on his eighth hot lap.
His best time of 1m13.614s was already just over a tenth of a second faster than his benchmark time from the first day, and by 1pm the world champion had chalked up 40 laps to add to the 93 trouble-free ones he completed on Tuesday.
Fernando Alonso was up in second in the new Ferrari, five tenths of a second back after 38 laps, with di Resta third in the 2010 Force India and Kubica ending his first morning in the innovative Renault R31 fourth, with 40 laps.
Lewis Hamilton is making his sole appearance of the week on Wednesday to get his first taste of the Pirelli tyres to be used this year, after McLaren decided not to use its race drivers in the post-season Abu Dhabi tyre test last November.
After a lengthy gap after a early installation lap, the 2008 champion eased himself back into driving duties and by lunchtime had completed 26 laps and occupied fifth place.
Mercedes’s opening day programme for the W02 had been restricted by a hydraulics problem during Nico Rosberg’s morning run on Tuesday so the German team and driver would have been pleased to have racked up 34 laps by 1pm on day two.
The team was also trying out the German manufacturer’s renowned KERS system for the first time, having not used it on the opening day while it carried out other checks.
Team Lotus, meanwhile, was debuting its new T128 and, while Heikki Kovalainen had failed to post a lap time by lunchtime, the team’s Twitter updates suggested early work was going well, the Finn having done five exploratory laps during a programme of system checks and car alterations.
There had been two red flags by 1pm, the first of which was caused after half an hour by Rubens Barrichello, whose new Williams FW33 stopped out on track with an electrical problem.
13.30 update: Alonso has since jumped ahead of Vettel at the head of the times, the Spaniard’s new benchmark standing at 1m13.469s.
Valencia test day two times @ 13.00
9 GLOCK Virgin* 1m17.228s (15)
laps completed in brackets
* 2010 car