Nick Heidfeld, Renault, Jerez, 2011

Heidfeld puts Renault back on top in Jerez

2011 F1 testingPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

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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.

    1. How can you tell?

      1. It’s a bit tricky, but look at rb7 times on the longer runs… not only from todays test but from the previous ones as well.

        1. Maybe I’m blind, but where can one find those full stint times?

          Considering their dominance over the past year and a half I also keep thinking Red Bull is simply taking it easy on the laptimes, but few evidence to back it up. :)

          1. Yeap… lifting on the straights and just testing through the corners… the easy way to test but hide your pace.

            Sorry, but RBR still seem way ahead.

          2. Having said that pretty much everyone has some major developments before the start of the season so you really can’t tell anything.

          3. the applet at this site has each drivers lap times if you click on their names.

            I think Ferrari are pretty solid as well. All their long runs were consistent and pretty fast.

        2. Yeah, apparently the remarkable thing about the RB7’s times so far is the fact that they remain consistent (and relatively quick) during long stints.

    2. Actually, even if you invert the list, there are still five above them.

    3. According to some guy in some top team, the Ferrari has a slight edge over the Red Bull.

      I read that on the BBC Sports site.

      1. It’s not Luca is it?

  2. Anyone who knows the reason Mclaren did so few laps?

    1. Due to a shortage of spare parts.

      1. I was more than a bit surprised to read that McLaren couldn’t run their proper test program today due to a lack of spare parts. That is VERY un-McLaren like!

    2. A lack of parts apparently.

      1. If so, isn’t that kind of bad organization with such little testing available and after using the first set of tests just to try out the tyres?

  3. 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…

    1. I’m not sure. Mclaren were reliable with it in 09 and Ferrari only had the odd issue such as Kimi’s fire at Malaysia (or maybe Spain) but some surprises would be nice!

      1. With the re-introduction of KERS could we see Massa’s visor problems return? ;-)

  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!

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

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

    1. 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…

      1. 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.

    2. 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
    12th February 2011, 16:09

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

    1. Headline grabbing I suspect

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

    3. 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!

    1. have you read it then?

      1. No, but I suspect that they won’t get that Lada money if he’s not driving!

  8. 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.


    1. 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.

      1. 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.

    2. 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).

    3. 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.

      1. mute point? Do you mean ‘moot’ point?

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

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

      2. 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.

    5. 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.

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

        1. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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. 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

    1. 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.

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

  12. well done Nick

    1. Hope he gets the seat. I’d rather see a fast driver then a pay driver

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

    1. Glock was only a couple of seconds off the top time yesterday. Probably doing very high fuel load runs.

    2. It’s both…

      1. Yea Virgin doesn’t look good. i really think they gained only a second.

  14. ForzaLaScuderia (@)
    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.

    1. Unless € and $ will decide. Skill-wise, Robert and Nick outclass Petrov and I wanted them to be reunited at Renault last year.

    2. You know what, I was just wondering the same thing.

    3. That would be good :D

      We already know they make for great team mates.

  16. Redbull: Sandbagging much?

    1. I don’t know really. Does anyone know what fuel loads and tyres they were running for each of their runs?…….thought not. ;)

      1. Meh, I guess so :D
        I think it’ll be mighty close between the top 5/6 teams whatever happens!

  17. What happenned to Mclaren??!! Lack of parts?!! Seriously? :-)

    1. Probably one or two bits got left behind in Germany.

  18. SchumiVrooooom
    12th February 2011, 16:52

    The RB7 is far ahead of everyone else i think. Vettel at one point did something like 15 laps in the 1:22´s. Of course i dont know what tires or fuel loads he had but it was constantly quick.

    1. And therein lies the problem. No one has a clue what fuel load or tyres they were running to achieve that.

  19. Lotus 1.4 seconds short of the current best time at Jerez. They’re ‘faster’ than the Williams and Force India have been able to show so far. Very promising, I hope they’ll be up there in the real pack from the start, especially since their car is one of the best looking around.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Nick’s time has as much to do with Renault wanting to be up there as it has to do with Nick’s driving, although I have no idea what sort of stint he was on when he set that time. After losing one of the current top drivers for the season there are a lot of anxious people in need of reassuring. Still, good productive day for Renault either way.

    Can’t wait for them to go at in Bahrain and settle this excruciating speculation though. :)

  20. SchumiVrooooom
    12th February 2011, 16:57

    If i remember right Nick´s 1:20,3 was on the second lap of an 8 lap run, if i remember it right. We probably can guess it was on the super soft ones.

    1. If it was second lap then it could not have been super softs, surely? Drivers have said that there is barely one lap in those tyres.

      1. One lap for warming up, and a second fast one. Same thing with Schumacher yesterday

      2. Not 100% sure but I think it was of super softs.

        The tyres will still do 10 laps but at seriously increasing times.

        Saying they have one lap in them means the fastest lap, not that they can be ran for anymore laps.

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