Michael Schumacher set the fastest time of the second day of testing at Jerez for Mercedes.
The run on which Schumacher did the best lap was not a drastically low fuel run – at least not less than 10 laps. But it still was not a complete turnaround for Mercedes because, despite the fastest time, it took a lot of laps for his times to stabilize – and when they did they were around a second slower than where Red Bull was on similar runs.
Schumacher admitted that the team tried the super-soft tires early in the day, but he refuted suggestions that his quickest lap was set on a low-fuel run.
"We were focusing on long runs yesterday, and that was the same today," Schumacher told reporters. "But today we tried the very soft tires. Obviously that makes us a little bit quicker than some teams that have not tried those tires. Saying this, we were not the only ones using them. They are available to everybody.
"If I'm correct, my fastest lap came at the start of a 10-lap run. I don't know if that is short – you may interpret it how you want."
The 42-year-old also played down the significance of his teammate's mood after Rosberg had a difficult first day at the test yesterday.
"I think Nico didn't have a good day – the car wasn't running properly," he added. "I'm sure if he runs the car on the last day, he will be more happy.
"I'm not too worried. I'm on the inside, I understand exactly what is going on. I wasn't worried in Valencia, and I'm not worried so far here. We had a satisfying day. We had good reliability, and it's important for us to do the mileage and to get the car reliable."
Felipe Massa was the only other driver to get into the 1m20sec. The Ferrari was posting 1m21sec at the beginning of eight-lap stints earlier in the day. The times indicated the team was working on heavier fuel loads in the afternoon when his longer run times were between 1m26sec and 1m28sec. It once again ended the day with the most laps completed, 116.
McLaren made a slow start to the second day with the MP4-26, still working on system checks and installation runs throughout the morning. Jenson Button was on track more in the afternoon but still did not run for more than six laps at a time. Button's times trickled down from the 1m23sec, through the 22sec and into the 21sec a few times this afternoon.
Jaime Alguersuari was fourth fastest for Toro Rosso, with his best time coming at the start of one of two 10-lap runs around midday. Both of those began in the 1m21sec and held steady in the 22sec until the final lap. The Spaniard caused one of the day's red flags by spinning off at Turn 9, then was back to working on shorter runs in the afternoon.
It was another quiet day for Red Bull, with Mark Webber once again producing impressive long-run times without setting any headline-grabbing single laps. The RB7's best time came in a three-lap burst, but he was only a couple of tenths slower than that on a longer run later on. Yet it was the 19-lap run largely in the 1m24sec that highlighted the potential, as nobody else was able to lap consistently at that pace on such a long stint.
Sauber did a lot of laps today, but never more than five at a time. Sergio Perez almost always began his stints in the 1m22sec and dropped away through the 1m23sec. The Mexican cut his team's day short by crashing between Turns 7 and 8 and damaging the front end of the Sauber C30.
Force India stuck to mainly short runs on the second day out for the VJM04, with Adrian Sutil mainly in the 1m23sec and 24sec.
Renault did not grab too much attention with Vitaly Petrov also sticking mainly to short bursts. There was a big variation in his times throughout the day, but at best he settled into 1m23sec. He was another to cause a red flag by spinning, his coming at Turn 2 mid-way through the morning.
Pastor Maldonado went one step further and provoked a stoppage by crashing his Williams at the exit of Turn 4 with around 75 minutes remaining. He went through the gravel trap and into the wall, damaging the front and rear of the car.
The team had already lost a significant amount of running when it stripped and reassembled the KERS as a precaution following a warning from the unit in the morning. Maldonado had only done two laps after rejoining when he crashed.
Virgin Racing did some longer running before Timo Glock set his best time of 1m22.208sec to grab eighth place in the final half-hour. Team Lotus was able to do some longer runs in the morning, with Jarno Trulli consistent in the 1m23sec and 24sec on the soft tire. But it did not reappear in the afternoon due to an unspecified mechanical problem which requires spare parts from its UK base.
Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1. Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, 1m20.352s, 112
2. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1m20.413s + 0.061s, 116
3. Jenson Button, McLaren-Mercedes, 1m21.009s + 0.657s, 69
4. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1m21.214s + 0.862s, 72
5. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault, 1m21.613s + 1.261s, 113
6. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 1m21.780s + 1.428s, 73
7. Sergio Perez, Sauber-Ferrari, 1m21.857s + 1.505s, 56
8. Timo Glock, Virgin-Cosworth, 1m22.208s + 1.856s, 57
9. Vitaly Petrov, Renault, 1m22.493s + 2.141s, 65
10. Pastor Maldonado, Williams-Cosworth, 1m22.591s + 2.239s, 38
11. Jarno Trulli, Lotus-Renault, 1m23.216s + 2.864s, 40
All timing unofficial