Test finali a Barcellona, giorno 3–28/02/2015
Barcelona F1 test: Mercedes tops penultimate day with Hamilton
Mercedes flexed its muscle ahead of the new Formula 1 season again on Saturday, as Lewis Hamilton topped the times on the penultimate day of testing in Barcelona.
Having spent the first half of the afternoon in the garage as the team applied what it called an ‘experimental’ set-up, Hamilton finished with a soft tyre lap faster than Williams and Ferrari achieved on super-softs.
When he initially emerged on the medium tyre just before 3pm, the world champion lapped within a second of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen’s super-soft efforts, which were set amid a flurry of qualifying simulations before lunch.
Hamilton’s first taste of F1’s 2015 soft rubber yielded a 1m23.262s, just 0.386s shy of Massa’s morning time, but there was more to come.
On his second run, Hamilton leapt to the top with his 1m23.022s more than two-tenths clear of the super-soft benchmarks, and a similar margin slower than Nico Rosberg’s 1m22.792s from Friday.
Massa and Raikkonen spent the majority of the afternoon conducting longer runs on the medium and hard tyres, the Ferrari driver completing a race simulation.
Red Bull applied that strategy to its entire day, with Daniel Ricciardo finishing at the bottom of the times having focused on long runs on the medium rubber.
It was another busy day at Circuit de Catalunya, with Mercedes and McLaren the only outfits not to break the 100-lap barrier.
Kevin Magnussen’s outing in the McLaren-Honda ended almost three hours early due to an oil leak. Deputising for Fernando Alonso, the Dane only managed 39 laps.
Force India, meanwhile, enjoyed another promising day with its new VMJ08, which has completed 235 laps since breaking cover just before lunch on Friday.
Nico Hulkenberg was Saturday’s busiest driver with158 laps, and his time on the super-soft was eventually bumped down to seventh by Carlos Sainz Jr and Romain Grosjean’s late runs on the compound.
Sainz and Marcus Ericsson caused the day’s only red flags, both stopping on track during the final hour.
|4||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m24.191s||1.169s||132|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m24.939s||1.917s||158|
|9||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m25.742s||2.720s||128|
Circuit: Montmelò circuit – 4.655 km
Driver: Kimi Raikkonen
Car: Ferrari SF15-T
Weather: Air temperature 10/17°C, track temperature 10/30°C. Sunny.
Laps/Km completed: 136/633
Fastest time: 1:23.276
Tyres used: Soft, Medium.
Programme: aerodynamic test, set up and race simulation.
Kimi Raikkonen: “Overall it hasn’t been a bad test since we covered a race distance today. Now we wait to go to Melbourne to see how we stand compared to the others. I wish to thank the Team for the work it has done during the winter”.
James Allison: “We’ve got a lot of laps under our belt in this winter testing; but until you actually go out and do the laps for a race, one after the other, and not stopping except to change tyres, you really can’t claim that you’re ready to go to Melbourne and do it for real. So we’re happy to get our first race distance of the winter done, happy to have achieved at the first attempt, and with the reliability that we showed. So I’m pleased with the testing we did over the last two days, which shows clearly that the car works as we expected. Winter testing in Europe always asks slightly different questions from the car than you get when you’re in Bahrain: but it doesn’t turn night into day. Most of what the car really is is revealed here as much as on the other Grand Prix circuits during the year. And I think what we see is a well-mannered car, so we expect these characteristics to be broadly carried over to the other races”.