The Glass Ceiling and Day 2

In 2012 the top 4 teams (Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes) will field the same driver line up for the 3rd consecutive year in a row. Elsewhere down the grid only Daniel Ricciardo and Bruno Senna moving from one seat to another (HRT – STR & Renault – Williams) while everyone else is either returning or retaining with only 2 real rookies to speak of (Charles Pic & Jean Eric-Vergne).

The two drivers that are moving teams only raced 1/2 a season with Ricciardo being sponsored for 6 months with the explicit plan of running him in 2012. Bruno Senna got promoted to a race seat after showing promise in the Renault team and with Nick Heidfeld faultering the team placed him in the car with the help of a few sponsors.

But while the front of the gird has stuck with consistency the same cannot be said as you head towards the back. But the teams are opting to run experienced racers rather than rookies, with Lotus (formerly Renault) running former world champion Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean. Force India have promoted Nico Hulkenberg to a race seat after he drove FP1’s for the team last year (no shame there an obvious choice) while Sauber and Caterham have kept their drivers. HRT have even plonked for the steady hands of Pedro De La Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan rather than hiring young blood.

But it must be a worry that no driver has moved into a top team since 2010, however there is hope for the drivers on the grid yet. Micheal Schumacher has to be nearing the end of his second career and Massa & Webber are under pressure to perform to retain their seats further. Another talking point is Lewis Hamilton is out of contract at the end of the season and is likely to dominate any silly season talks.

As for day 2 at the testing, Schumacher topped the time sheets in last years Mercedes while Mark Webber lead the new cars:

Driver Car Best time Laps Difference
1 Michael Schumacher Mercedes W02 1’18.561 132
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault RB8 1’19.184 97 0.623
3 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari STR7 1’19.587 100 1.026
4 Jules Bianchi Force India-Mercedes VJM05 1’20.221 46 1.660
5 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault E20 1’20.239 117 1.678
6 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes VJM05 1’20.272 69 1.711
7 Felipe Massa Ferrari F2012 1’20.454 95 1.893
8 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes MP4-27 1’20.688 85 2.127
9 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari C31 1’20.711 68 2.150
10 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault FW34 1’21.197 97 2.636
11 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault CT01 1’21.518 139 2.957
12 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth F111 1’22.128 64 3.567
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