Date: 10th March 2011 at 10:40am
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The testing sessions in Barcelona thus far have done nothing to ease the fears of fans of McLaren, Mercedes and virtually every team on the grid that doesn’t carry Red Bull logos on their overalls.

Red Bull Racing followed up Mark Webber’s dominating day on Tuesday, with Vettel taking the spot light again on Wednesday.

Sebastien Buemi for Toro Rosso was the only man who could get near the World champion and even that was half a second slower.

Vitaly Petrov was third for Renault 0.805 seconds behind Red Bull, while McLaren and Ferrari were fourth and fifth.

Overall another solid day for Red Bull where they began to really show the pace of their new 2011 car.

‘We will find out in Melbourne where we really are, I’m smart enough to know we all have zero points starting this year. We know what we have done last year but in a way it doesn’t really help us this year. It’s a new year and a new challenge.’ 2010 F1 World champion Sebastian Vettel told the BBC after Wednesday’s testing.

On the other side of the coin, was Lewis Hamilton and McLaren.

While the 2011 pre-season testing couldn’t have gone any better for Red Bull, McLaren were late to launch and have struggled with reliability, set-up and pace.

The gap between the two teams was once again evident in Barcelona on Wednesday.

While Vettel was setting lap times of 1 minute 21.865 seconds, Hamilton was 1.023 seconds off the pace and fourth fasted overall.

Red Bull also enjoyed much more running time, completing 112 laps, while Hamilton could only manage 57 after suffering a hydraulics problem and then an exhaust failure.

‘This year has not been the best of years for our testing programme but we’ve learnt a lot about the issues, We didn’t have great mileage today but on the positive side the car felt quite a bit better to drive than at the last test here.’ 2008 F1 World champion Lewis Hamilton told the press after the days test.

‘We might turn up in Melbourne and find the car goes even better than it does now. We are a team that are able to close a gap but time will tell.’

Ferrari took the day off on Tuesday, but they too were fairly anonymous on Wednesday with Felipe Massa running 101 laps with their new aerodynamic package and new exhaust layout.

Massa was 1.459 seconds slower than Vettel, but they have shown they have the pace on short runs during the previous tests, so fully expect that gap to close over the next couple of days.

For everyone else the gap between them and Red Bull was evident.

Despite a lap time of 1 minute 25.807 seconds, Nico Rosberg was fairly happy that Mercedes were showing signs of development, Mercedes ran a modified exhaust on Wednesday with more updates to be added between now and Saturday.

‘There were glimpses of the performance gain that seemed very impressive which makes me very hopeful.’ the German said on Wednesday.

The most frustrated team in Barcelona yesterday was Williams. It didn’t prove to be a very happy birthday for Pastor Maldonado, who spent the majority of his 26th birthday in the pits with a a problem with the KERS device.

Maldonado completed just 29 laps and was five seconds slower than Vettel.

Jerome D’Ambrosio was the slowest man in Spain for Virgin, from 64 laps the closest he could get to Vettel was 7.117 seconds.

 

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