Impressing in Valencia
Valencia looks lovely this time of year. Clear skies, a small breeze, not too hot. And you can’t complain with eight cars flying around the Ricardo Tomo circuit on the outskirts of Valencia either.
Is it too early to look at the times? Yes it is. I found out that last year by believing Brawn GP were doing glory runs with low fuel and thinking the pace wasn’t genuine. My judgement hasn’t been as badly bruised since.
But, I feel compelled to write about Pedro de la Rosa, returning F1 driver, along with Michael Schumacher, in his white Sauber. I know a lot of doubters who thought he was the wrong choice for the team, that Nick Heidfeld should be there instead. Whilst not totally disagreeing with the doubters, I stood by Pedro de la Rosa and always will when he is in a Sauber car. The same goes for Kamui Kobayashi or whoever else joins the team.
If you are unaware of the testing times, Pedro de la Rosa finished second, with the third most laps completed on the day. His time of 1:12.784 was faster than both Mercedes drivers (Schumacher and Rosberg) as well as others including Barrichello and Kubica, both drivers who have been predicted to finish ahead of him in 2010.
I know I have said it is too early to judge anyone in a F1 car, but at this early stage in testing, it shows that de la Rosa still has it in him to keep up with the younger drivers (and Schumacher). It is impossible to judge where the team are at regarding which driver is better until after Kobayashi has driven.
Of course, de la Rosa is a well known test driver, and this of course is a test session. It will be important to transfer the promising early results to the actual races. Something which I am confident he will do.
So, doubters of de la Rosa. Is he still not good enough for Formula 1? Is he really going to be the new Luca Badoer? Based on one solid looking result, I think not
1. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:12.574 102 2. de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari (B) 1:12.784 74 3. M.Schumacher Mercedes GP (B) 1:12.947 40 4. Rosberg Mercedes GP (B) 1:13.543 39 5. Paffett McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:13.846 86 6. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:14.449 75 7. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:14.762 18 8. Kubica Renault (B) 1:15.000 69