Heidfeld puts Renault back on top in Jerez

2011 F1 testing

Nick Heidfeld, Renault, Jerez, 2011

Nick Heidfeld, Renault, Jerez, 2011

Nick Heidfeld staked his claim to a drive at Renault by setting the fastest lap on the third day of testing at Jerez.

Heidfeld clocked a 1’20.361 in the R31 with just over an hour to go in Saturday’s test.

It’s the second time Renault have headed a test session this year – Robert Kubica was quickest in the final day at Valencia before he was injured in a rally crash on Sunday.

Huge crowds turned out at the Circuito de Jerez to see Fernando Alonso at the wheel of the Ferrari F150th Italia.

The Ferrari driver moved to the top of the times in the morning and stayed there until he was usurped by Heidfeld.

Behind him was Michael Schumacher, who did a series of long runs in his Mercedes.

McLaren had a difficult day with the MP4-26. Lewis Hamilton covered just 35 laps, although he was quick enough to end the session fourth.

Rubens Barrichello also lost time due to another problem with KERS on the Williams.

Kamui Kobayashi caused two red flags in his Sauber, stopping on the track in the morning and late in the afternoon.

Shortly afterwards Paul di Resta spun off at Curva Angel Nieto, bringing out the red flags again.

His team said he’d “been struggling with the brakes all day” in his first outing in the VJM04. “We’re investigating issues with brakes tonight and fixing for tomorrow” they added.

The session was restarted but Sebastien Buemi went off at the same place, causing a fourth stoppage.

The session was restarted with one minute left to go. Sebastian Vettel, Schumacher, Hamilton, Heidfeld and Barrichello all went out for a final run, but there was no time left for any more flying laps.

Driver Car Best time Laps Difference
1 Nick Heidfeld Renault R31 1’20.361 86
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari F150th Italia 1’20.493 131 0.132
3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes W02 1’21.054 114 0.693
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes MP4-26 1’21.099 36 0.738
5 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari C30 1’21.242 84 0.881
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault RB7 1’21.574 98 1.213
7 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari STR6 1’21.681 92 1.320
8 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault T128 1’21.711 61 1.350
9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth FW33 1’22.227 99 1.866
10 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes VJM04 1’22.945 64 2.584
11 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth MVR-02 1’25.471 72 5.110

2011 F1 testing

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120 comments on Heidfeld puts Renault back on top in Jerez

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  1. It seems like rb7 is above anything else.

  2. Catalina (@catalina) said on 12th February 2011, 16:07

    Anyone who knows the reason Mclaren did so few laps?

  3. Selidor said on 12th February 2011, 16:08

    Hmm, with the re-introduction of KERS could we see dramatically lower reliability compared with 2010? Im sure the teams will work hard to try get all the kinks sorted out by Bahrain, though part of me wishes they wont so the races will be slightly more unpredictable…

  4. Well done Nick! It’ll be good to have a competitive driver stand in for Robert. The usual suspects are definitely all quick. I’m disappointed that McLaren did so little running today though, but 4th despite that is definitely reassuring. So far Ferrari & Red Bull are definitely the teams to beat when you analyse pace over long runs, but Merc, McLaren & definitely Renault are showing serious promise. I’m also pleased to see Lotus doing so well!

    • Himmat S. said on 13th February 2011, 3:57

      Well, I echo your sentiments. Makes me feel a bit confident that they will indeed be in contention of points scoring positions.

  5. Stratos said on 12th February 2011, 16:09

    It seems Nick wants to be as fast as possible to get the R31 seat, I hope Senna show us some good driving tomorrow ;)

    • There is a risk he crashes to try to be faster or almost as fast. When Nick is up to his best like that Senna doesn’t stand a chance…

      • Senna has a chance if he can prove that he is notably better then Petrov. At least, I would think he should have a chance, I think it is really too early to see how he is in a proper F1 car. I hope he impresses tomorrow. I really don’t like Petrov as a driver.

    • macahan said on 12th February 2011, 18:11

      I would love to see lap graphs to get a feel of their consistency over multiple laps.

      Is that something you could do Keith?

      Fast over one lap is fairly “easy” but to keep consistency over longer runs is the tricky part. Qualification of course is very important but when it comes down to it the race is what gets you on the podium and the race is more then a few laps and if you have to change shoes every 7-10 laps your in trouble.

  6. Indranil Dudhane said on 12th February 2011, 16:09

    I wonder what was the point in doing another lap right at the end

    • nickthegeek said on 12th February 2011, 16:19

      Headline grabbing I suspect

    • With the testing restrictions so tighht at the moment, all teams will try and get every metre of running they can.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th February 2011, 19:57

      But that lap was not set right at the end. More like 2/3rds in (lap 58). It was at the start of a 10 lap run, so not even a simple glory run, pretty much comparable with Schumi’s yesterday and what Alonso did today.

      I see it as a confirmatoin the Renault is pretty solid.

  7. I bet Petrov is glad he’s got a watertight contract!

  8. nickthegeek said on 12th February 2011, 16:18

    My wonder is, if NH is in a really good position mid season (say top 3) and RK is ready to return what will renault do? lol. maybe Petrov would have to stand down for RK to return.

    Thoughts?

    • Mark Hitchcock (@mark-hitchcock) said on 12th February 2011, 16:26

      Depends what sort of contract he signs really doesn’t it? If Petrov has a contract for the year and Heidfeld gets one saying he has to give up his seat then they won’t have much choice.

      • They’d have a simple way around it though. Claim that Kubica isn’t physically ready for a formula 1 car. That way they could keep Heidfeld driving.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 12th February 2011, 16:29

      If he’s doing that well, then, yeah, that would make the most sense. Of course, I doubt he’ll be a title contender anyway.

      If Renault really love Petrov enough, he can regain his seat for 2012 (which he is somehow contracted for).

    • RK isn’t going to be back mid season so a mute point, but late season its a no brainer it would be Petrov on the side lines to give NH a chance to finish as high as possible.

    • Who knows? Maybe Petrov will be in contention too.

      • nickthegeek said on 12th February 2011, 17:17

        I dont like to write people off without giving them a chance to prove themselves, but meh…

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th February 2011, 20:00

        Now that would be bit of a suprise, but why not!
        Off course it all depends on when Kubica would be returning and how the team are doing and how confident they are Kubica will be immediately on the pace.
        Certainly if Nick is in a good position for the championship with 2-3 rounds to go, they might just let him take it to the end. Or not.

    • Dafffid (@dafffid) said on 12th February 2011, 21:15

      If Nick was top 3 mid season, Kubica wouldn’t be allowed to return till next year. No way you would jeopardise a situation like that by changing horses and shifting emphasis in the garage. And assuming he’d take a few races to get up to speed he wouldn’t be brought in to secure team points either.

      Anyway, it’s all hypothetical as he won’t be back this season, I wouldn’t put a quid on it at a million to one.

      • true. even in top 5. and as for 2012 – who knows what it could bring on.
        really pity for Robert.

        • SeattleChris (@seattlechris) said on 12th February 2011, 22:59

          lol… Robert is going to wind up with a good team next year. The pity’s the loss of a seemingly decent Renault this year for Robert. He’ll get another good car next year in all likelihood whether its at Renault or somewhere else.
          As a thought, I don’t expect that Webber will be at RBR next year if Vettel is. There is still tension there and they are just sucking it up for another year, but they will probably break it off at the end of the year.

  9. Nick stayed on the track, and no doubt gave some very good feedback to the team. The drive is his, regardless of what Senna does tomorrow.

    • Agreed. As much as I’d love to see Senna get the drive, Renault need someone with experience to hold the team up on track (Petrov can’t do that).

      If i were Senna I’d use the test as a chance to experience a good car, give some feedback and enjoy it.

      We’ve seen quite a few spins and crashes from the new and newish boys so far. So hopefully he can keep that to a minimum.

    • schooner said on 12th February 2011, 17:45

      My thoughts exactly, VXR. It was never going to be a shootout between Senna and Heidfeld for the seat. I’d imagine that Nick showed the brass all they needed to see in order to give him the drive.

  10. fatbloke76 said on 12th February 2011, 16:22

    oh well looks like it not macca’s year again. anybody know what spares were missing? just a bluff i reckon, we’ll get to bahrain and they’ll be 1/1.2 secs behind redbull

    • Franton said on 12th February 2011, 16:27

      How can you say that? Their times over three days with all their drivers are suspiciously consistent. I don’t think they’re showing their pace, just debugging.

      • Himmat S. said on 13th February 2011, 4:06

        Looks like they’re might confident. No real technical problems with the car but they’ve only done 36 laps. How’d you read that?

  11. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 12th February 2011, 16:22

    that’s it! well done in securing the seat, Nick!

  12. runtaro said on 12th February 2011, 16:24

    well done Nick

  13. Why is the Virgin so slow? Is it just D’ambrosio being slow or is the car that bad?

  14. ForzaLaScuderia (@forzalascuderia) said on 12th February 2011, 16:28

    Great drive by Heidfeld, Alonso 131 laps…wow. Nice to see the Ferrari reliable and consistently near the top of the table throughout the testing season.

  15. I have a feeling that 2012 will see Nick and Robert together again.

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