McLaren Honda's woes continued into day one of the first in season test as Mercedes again light up the timesheets following plenty of useful running.
With top teams Mercedes and Ferrari both recording an incredible number of laps on their way to the top two positions in the times at Bahrain on Tuesday, McLaren again struggled to record any meaningful running as the bright orange MCL32 ground to a halt after just two installation laps in the morning, citing a water leak in the cars ERS system and necessitating several hours of repairs until eventually getting back on track in the final hour of the session. Despite the work undertaken in the garage British driver Oliver Turvey was only able to record just 17 laps and achieved the slowest time of the day, some 3.6 seconds away from the pace setting Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.
McLaren Honda wasn't the only team during today's test to suffer difficulties, with Lewis Hamilton causing the first red flag of the day after just 15 minutes when his Mercedes suffered an "electrical disconnection" ending with the Briton parking his car out on circuit until it could be recovered back to the pits and prepared for further running.
Others to hit trouble throughout the session included Red Bull Renault driver Daniel Riccardo, who suffered a terminal engine failure when out on track that effectively ending the running of the car as the team made the necessary preparations for tomorrows track action in the hands of reserve driver Pierre Gasly. Gasly will be spending yet more track time in the RB13 as the team prepare the talented youngster for a potential berth at Toro Rosso next season. Speaking of Toro Rosso, the Italian team had Indonesian hopeful Sean Gelael making his Formula One debut today, and the 20 year old Formula Two driver produced a very respectable performance as he clocked up 78 mistake free laps on his way to securing eight position on the timesheets at the end of the day. Galael didn't have an altogether issue free day, as not one but two red flags had to be called during the session for an electrical issue in the morning and a planned out of fuel run towards the end of the test.
Surprise 2017 championship leaders Ferrari had a busy day on track as four time World Champion Sebastien Vettel undertook testing duties on behalf of tyre supplier Pirelli, running an unmodified car for almost 90 laps of data gathering for the Italian tyre company as they look to put yet more mileage on the 2018 specification rubber currently under development. Whilst Vettel was busy pounding the tarmac for Pirelli, sometime Sauber driver and Ferrari Young Driver Academy recruit Antonio Giovinazzi again impressed onlookers as the youngster completed an impressive 93 laps on his way to second position in the final times, making up for his less than auspicious final Grand Prix appearance for Sauber when he became far too acquainted with the Chinese Grand Prix pit wall in the difficult wet race conditions.
Of the other super subs taking part in today test, Alfonso Celis Jr gave the Silverstone based Force India team something to cheer with 70 valuable laps on the clock following the news of the latest debacle surrounding flamboyant team owner Vijay Mallya. Celis will hand over driving duties to team regulars Perez and Ocon tomorrow after the unexpected swop around to the teams planning driving schedule.
The full times from day one of the 2017 Bahrain in season test can be seen below:
- Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m31.358s Laps 97
- Antonio Giovinazzi Ferrari 1m31.984s 0.626s Laps 93
- Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m32.349s 0.991s Laps 45
- Romain Grosjean Haas 1m33.452s 1.094s Laps 87
- Felipe Massa Williams 1m32.509s 1.151s Laps 56
- Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m33.624s 2.266s Laps 74
- Lance Stroll Williams 1m33.729s 2.371s Laps 35
- Sean Gelael Toro Rosso 1m33.885s 2.527s Laps 78
- Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m33.894s 2.536s Laps 89
- Alfonso Celis Jr Force India 1m33.939s 2.581s Laps 70
- Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1m34.550s 3.192s Laps 106
- Oliver Turvey McLaren 1m35.011s 3.653s Laps 17
Testing resumes at 8am local time tomorrow for the final Bahrain in season test before the next round of the FIA Formula One World Championship in Russia on Sunday April 30th.
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Are you impressed with the F1 test drivers performances during the test? Can McLaren fall any lower this season? Does Giovinazzi deserve a full time driver in F1 following his performances for Sauber and here in the Ferrari? Let us know in the comments section below!