Mercedes stay quickest, problems for Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton out on track today. Photo courtesy Mercedes AMG F1 Team.

Lewis Hamilton out on track today. Photo courtesy Mercedes AMG F1 Team.

Lewis Hamilton kept Mercedes at the top of the timesheets today after his team-mate took the fastest time on the opening day of the two day in-season test. Like Rosberg, Hamilton ended the day on top of both the timesheets and the lap chart as he clocked up 120 laps with a best time of 1.34.136.

Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne was the next man down the order and his day consisted of shorter runs during which he conducted mechanical evaluations and tested various compounds, Medium, Soft and Supersoft, for Pirelli. His 64 laps were enough to get within 1.4 seconds of Hamilton in the seemingly unstoppable Mercedes.

McLaren kept Kevin Magnussen in the car for the second day of testing but his day was cut short after he went into the gravel before lunch with 26 laps completed. Fresh from his podium in the Bahrain Grand Prix last Sunday, Sergio Perez went fourth for Force India while completing longer runs in the morning and shorter aero tests in the afternoon.

Daniel Ricciardo got off to a slow start as he encountered mechanical issues in his RB10 and lost running as the team patched the car up. This delay caused the morning aero work to be bumped into the afternoon session where he completed only shorter aero runs. He ended the day fifth overall.

Jules Bianchi brought Marussia to sixth today, as team-mate Max Chilton did yesterday. Running the second highest amount of laps today, the team are satisfied with the “valuable milage” completed. The team are now defending tenth place in the World Constructors’ Championship after Max Chilton finished 13th during the race last weekend and took the position from Caterham.

Sauber gave reserve driver Giedo van der Garde the car for today’s test but his running was delayed due to problems with the power unit which took the team two hours to overcome. Eventually van der Garde, who last year drove for Caterham in his rookie year, got out on track and the team scrapped plans to test aero set ups. Instead they focused on long runs and different car set ups, eventually accumulating 77 laps.

Ferrari had their running brought to a sudden stop after a mere 12 laps when the chassis was discovered to be damaged. They have not given any information regarding the damage, what it affects or the extent of the damage, but the team explained that they withdrew from the test as a precaution.

Felipe Nasr, the reserve driver for Williams, was in the cockpit for the aforementioned team today as he conducted various tests for Pirelli who are using Williams and Mercedes as a guinea pigs for their tests. The tests were for next season’s tyres and they went to plan, although control issues did pop up at the end of the day. Overall the team say they are happy with the day’s running.

Lotus were slap-bang at the bottom of the order as they too had to abandon testing with just 16 laps run. Romain Grosjean took over for Maldonado who yesterday had a similarly short day, as a power unit issue affected both drivers. Unlike the slight mechanical blips or minor control issues experienced by other teams, Lotus’ issue was quite serious as it could very well cause both cars to drop out of the upcoming Chinese Grand Prix before the chequered flag.

The next on-track activity is at the Chinese GP on Sunday, 20th April.

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1.34.136 120 laps
Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1.35.557 64 laps
Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1.36.203 26 laps
Sergio Perez Force India 1.37.586 63 laps
Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1.37.310 67 laps
Jules Bianchi Marussia 1.37.316 93 laps
Giedo van der Garde Sauber 1.37.623 77 laps
Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1.37.912 12 laps
Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1.39.263 66 laps
Felipe Nasr Williams 1.39.879 64 laps
Romain Grosjean Lotus 1.43.732 16 laps

1 Comment

Filed under F1, Test

One response to “Mercedes stay quickest, problems for Ferrari

  1. Force India will have their best year yet in 2014, watch and take note!

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