Sahara Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg will be ending day one of the second day of Formula One testing with a smile on his face as his car set the fastest time after a strong day of testing.
Following 78 laps of solid testing, his lap of 1:36.880 on soft tyres put him faster than Sebastian Vettel’s fastest lap in last year’s grand prix effectively silencing those who claimed the 2014 machines would be slower.
Indeed Mercedes power in general was experiencing a good day, Lewis Hamilton set the early pace with 74 laps of trouble free testing warranting a time of 1:37.908 and third place behind Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari which overcame a smoky start as the testing began to finish just under a second behind Hulkenberg.
However, Bahrain was not completely trouble free initially even the start of the day’s running experienced problems. Due to a lack of marshals – or so Lotus tweeted – the start was delayed for 30 minutes, although the track officials claimed the delay was due to the teams.
In the event Red Bull would probably with there was no action at all, having spent almost all the morning encamped in the garage trying to resolve issues that still plagued them from Jerez, when they did go out they only managed 14 laps before a rear brake failure saw Vettel spin and bring out the last of a handful of red flags seen during the day.
It was not only the world champions that didn’t complete as many laps as they would have hoped, Lotus – who unveiled their twin tusk E22 (with one tusk bigger than the other to pass the crash tests) – completed only eight laps and were the slowest of all the teams which actually set a lap.
Toro Rosso could only complete five laps with Daniil Kvyat due to an oil leak, Felipe Massa could only complete five laps in the Williams because of a fuel leak and – most cryptically of all – Marussia could manage only three laps because of an ‘IT configuration issue.’
Whatever the reason these teams – especially Red Bull – will be hoping that day two in Bahrain brings better tidings. The action on track starts at 6am UK time.