Valtteri Bottas ended the second day of the second pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya top of the pile, shaving four tenths off his time from last week, which was also the fastest of the first testing.
The Finn is certainly looking comfortable at Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, and isn’t backwards in coming forwards when getting behind the wheel. His time today of 1:19.310 was 0.110 seconds ahead of second place Felipe Massa in the FW40.
Kimi Raikkonen took the final spot in the top three, finishing over a second slower than the Mercedes, though his time was achieved on the soft tyres compared to Bottas on the supersofts. Unfortunately the Finn in the Scuderia Ferrari suffered a premature end to his day after losing control at turn three and spinning off into the barriers. Raikkonen escaped unscathed though the Ferrari had suffered damage to both its front wing and suspension, and on returning to the pits on the back of a truck was hastily retired.
Max Verstappen enjoyed a productive day and was one of only two drivers to break through the 100 lap barrier, finishing on 102. But the Dutchman was on track for an even higher total before the team suffered a couple of issues. The first occurred close to the lunchtime break and resulted in Red Bull Racing deciding to change the engine. After a delay to the start of his afternoon session, Verstappen was on course to complete a race length long run when the RB13 came to a complete stop out on track, with the cause of the issue is still unknown. Despite the team being more focussed on race simulations with a heavy fuel load, Verstappen was still able to post a best time of 1:20.432 to finish fourth.
Lance Stroll took over from Massa during the afternoon, and enjoyed an uneventful session for Williams Martini Racing. It is the first incident-free running the Canadian has completed during the six days of testing thus far. He finished the day fifth with a best time of 1:20.579 set on the supersoft.
Lewis Hamilton was sixth on the soft rubber, 1.4 seconds slower than his team-mate running the supersofts. Mercedes’ programme revolved around the analysis of new development parts and both drivers completed their respective sessions without any “bumps in the road”.
Nico Hülkenberg was first out for Renault Sport F1 Team, completing 61 laps whilst running through a series of set-up work. However Jolyon Palmer’s afternoon session was first interrupted by work to the clutch and then by a hydraulic leak. He did however manage 29 laps with a heavy fuel load, posting a time of 1:24.774 for P14.
Sergio Perez was in the car for both the morning and afternoon session, and finished on exactly 100 laps. Sahara Force India reported that not all of their programme was completed due to the numerous red flags, but Perez was happy with the time spent getting a feel for the tyres and already finds himself pushing more thanks to their low degradation. His 1:21.297 was enough for eighth.
Scuderia Toro Rosso appear to have solved their reliability issues that plagued them last week, with Carlos Sainz running 92 laps over the course of the day. This has helped the team make up for some of the time lost but are still playing catch up with the other garages.
Haas F1 Team and Romain Grosjean ended the day tenth on the ultrasoft, perhaps disappointingly though again fuel levels would need to be taken into consideration as they were another team trialling race simulations. They also suffered an exhaust issue that cost them 90 minutes of afternoon running.
Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson shared the day, and 106 laps, to gather an abundance of data for Sauber F1 Team that will be analysed over night and put to use over the remaining two days.
The pair were separated by twelfth place Fernando Alonso, who’s best in the end was a 1:23.041 on the soft compound. It was another stop-start day for McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team who were also tormented by poor reliability and performance in the first week of testing. The team conducted a planned floor change during lunch, during which a small water leak was discovered and then subsequently fixed. They also completed a thorough check of the car that added to the delay. Alonso returned to the track at 16:00 and only clocked up 46 laps before the chequered flag came out.
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