The first thing to say about this week’s test in Barcelona is that the times recorded are irrelevant because different teams were doing different things and one cannot make any sensible comparisons, so headlines such as “Wolff faster than Vettel” are wildly misleading. The fact that the fastest time of the test was Pastor Maldonado’s 1m24.871s, which was nearly four-tenths faster than Lewis Hamilton’s pole position, puts the whole thing into perspective. The track was obviously faster but who knows what spec the car was running in? Sebastian Vettel set the fastest lap of the race at 1m28.918s, but went a second faster in the test, but was still way down the order. Maldonado did 102 laps in one day, while Lotus test driver Charles Pic was fifth overall with 70 laps and a best of 1m26.661s. Most teams split the test between drivers, although Ferrari gave the whole test to Kimi Raikkonen. He was fourth quickest after 115 laps with a 1m26.480s. Mercedes kept busy with Rosberg and Hamilton both running with Nico second fastest with a 1m25.805s after 102 laps and Lewis sixth overall with a 1m26.674 after 79 laps.
Putting things into perspective was usual back marker Max Chilton, who was third fastest overall in his Marussia, with a 1m26.434s.
Seventh fastest was Esteban Gutierrez in his Sauber, who did a 1m26.972s during his 85 laps of running. Susie Wolff was next but did only 55 laps, recording a best of 1m27.718s.
Jules Bianchi was ninth fastest but was half a second behind, although he did the same number of laps as Wolff.
The Williams was obviously run in different spec for Felipe Massa, as he recorded a similar time to Wolff but ought to have been far ahead given his F1 experience. If they were running the same spec and Susie was that fast, Felipe will need to look for work as she would become a much better bet for sponsors if she was as fast as Massa.
Others to appear were Daniel Juncadella in a Force India and Stoffel Vandoorne in a McLaren (below) both doing sufficient miles to qualify for Superlicences. Sebastien Buemi was back in a Red Bull for the first time in years. The only major excitement was a crash for Kamui Kobayashi, which meant that Caterham tester Robin Frijns could not run on the second day.