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Schumacher puts Mercedes on top in Jerez
Michael Schumacher
Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher helped allay fears the Mercedes W02 might be a dud, by setting the fastest time on Friday morning at the second day of testing in Jerez.

Teammate Nico Rosberg batted away questions about the car's ultimate pace on Thursday evening, after registering the ninth fastest time on the opening day of the second pre-season test. He said he would not pay any attention to the timesheets until the final test in Bahrain when the Mercedes would feature its final aerodynamic specification.

And as if to prove that testing times should not be taken too literally, Schumacher clocked the fastest time of the week in the same car Rosberg drove on Thursday. But the best news for Mercedes is that the W02 clocked up over 55 laps without any sign of a reoccurrence of the hydraulic issues that have plagued the car so far this season.

Ferrari continued in fine fettle with Felipe Massa at the wheel of the F150th Italia for the second day in a row. He chalked up over 50 laps with the second fastest time, just 0.061 off Schumacher and faster than his headline time on Thursday. The usual suspects then followed with Mark Webber setting the third fastest time in the Red Bull, ahead of Jenson Button in the McLaren by just 0.001 seconds.

Sergio Perez continued to impress at Sauber with another competitive lap time, although it is worth bearing in mind that the Swiss team was being tipped for big things this time last year due to its testing pace.

Two red flags brought unplanned stoppages to the morning's running. Jaime Alguersuari beached his Toro Rosso in the gravel early on and reached lunch with only 10 laps under his belt. Then Vitaly Petrov's Renault stopped on track after 22 laps - the second red flag the team has caused in two days, which could be something of a concern. Virgin's gremlins returned and Timo Glock was confined to the garage for a large part of the morning, although he did set a lap time before the lunch break - an improvement on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Pastor Maldonado was photographed getting out of shape into the Ayrton Senna chicane and bouncing through the gravel. The Venezuelan went for lunch with 30 laps and a solid if not spectacular lap time to his credit.

Morning Times

Pos Driver Car Time Laps
1. Michael Schumacher Mercedes W02 1:20.352 57
2. Felipe Massa Ferrari F150th Italia 1:20.413 56
3. Mark Webber Red Bull RB7 1:21.613 46
4. Jenson Button McLaren MP4-26 1:21.614 28
5. Sergio Perez Sauber C30 1:21.857 45
6. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso STR6 1:22.019 14
7. Adrian Sutil Force India VJM-04 1:22.445 42
8. Pastor Maldonado Williams FW33 1:22.591 31
9. Vitaly Petrov Renault R31 1:23.041 30
10. Jarno Trulli Lotus T128 1:23.216 35
11. Timo Glock Virgin MVR-02 1:25.874 15

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