- Oct 27, 2014
The second of F1’s pre-season tests began in Barcelona today, and while Pastor Maldonado went fastest the incidents and illnesses took up more of the attention.
Mercedes have a very reliable car, but it’s the drivers’ reliability which proved problematic. Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton ran in the morning session, but after doing 11 laps was suddenly withdrawn, the team stating he “didn’t feel comfortable” while driving. And Mercedes’ options were tied by Nico Rosberg’s own neck inflammation; reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein filled in at very short notice after originally being loaned to Force India for this test, and his and Hamilton’s laptimes were good enough for 9th and 11th fastest.
Susie Wolff was between them in 10th, but Williams were focused on long runs rather than fast times, and the Scottish driver notched up the second-highest lap count at 86. But while doing so she came across Felipe Nasr in the Sauber, the team most suspected of consistently running at lower fuel loads to top the timesheets. Wolff was on an out-lap when Nasr closed on her going into turn 5, and though the accounts differ between the drivers the two collided, and both needed time to repair their cars. The Brazilian GP2 graduate would eventually 5th fastest, ahead of longest runner Max Verstappen in the Toro Rosso but behind Maldonado’s Lotus, which stopped early on with sensor trouble, Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari less than two-tenths off on the medium compound Pirelli tyre, Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull and Sergio Perez in the 2014-spec Force India. Close to the test it wasn’t confirmed whether or not he and Hulkenberg would be driving at the test, and the Silverstone team’s troubles with getting the VJM08 ready now mean they hope it will do at least some of the final Barcelona test before the season begins.
As for McLaren, which has so far struggled to properly get going with its new Honda power-unit for 2015, things at first looked up. Jenson Button was able to complete 21 laps, and was ultimately just 3 seconds off Maldonado’s fastest time. But then their day was ended by a faulty seal in the energy recovery system, and Honda says a redesigned part to rectify the problem won’t come until Saturday. Button's teammate Fernando Alonso will still be able to run tomorrow when he takes over the car, but for how long is the question for a team desperately needing to complete more solid running with their radical new MP4-30.
First Barcelona Test Day One Results
1. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Mercedes 1:25.011 69 laps
2. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:25.167 74 laps
3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1:25.547 59 laps
4. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1:26.636 34 laps
5. Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari 1:27.307 79 laps
6. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso-Renault 1:27.900 94 laps
7. Jenson Button McLaren-Honda 1:28.182 21 laps
8. Pascal Wehrlein Force India-Mercedes 1:28.329 32 laps
9. Pascal Wehrlein Mercedes 1:28.489 48 laps
10. Susie Wolff Williams-Mercedes 1:28.906 86 laps
11. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:30.429 11 laps
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