Lewis Hamilton set the pace for Mercedes on the second and final day of the Bahrain F1 test, and the Briton also ran more laps than any other driver as several rivals ran limited mileage.
All teams ran their regular race drivers on Wednesday, with the exception of Sauber (which used Giedo van der Garde), and Williams (which used Felipe Nasr for its tire testing).
The big story of the day was the fleeting appearance of Fernando Alonso and Ferrari, the Italian team having to curtail its running after just 12 laps, after discovering chassis damage. It was another bad day for Lotus, with Romain Grosjean running only 16 laps, while Kevin Magnussen completed a meagre 26. In contrast, Hamilton managed 120, only one fewer than teammate Nico Rosberg did Tuesday, as once again the W05 ran reliably.
For both Mercedes and Williams, this was their assigned day to work for Pirelli, making it hard to properly judge Hamilton’s pace, as he was running development tires.
“It’s been a long day, running lap after lap to analyze the tires, but driving a Formula One car is never boring,” said Hamilton. “Of course, the nature of a tire test means we haven’t learnt anything in particular in terms of improving the car, but it’s useful for Pirelli and therefore useful to us in the long-term. They just gave me different sets and I told them how each felt. The plan was just to get in as many laps as we could. The times mean nothing, as everyone had their own programs to run.”
Jean-Eric Vergne was second fastest for Toro Rosso after a disappointing race weekend for the team.
“It was not a completely trouble-free day, but that’s what testing is about,” said the Frenchman. “That aside, we got some serious work done today that can inform us on the way to move forward for the next part of the season. From that point of view, today was very productive and important. We got some good answers about which direction to work in. Another plus point is that I feel the car itself has a good performance potential and will work really well, once we have everything under control, which is very encouraging.”
Magnussen went off the road early on due to what the team called a “car problem.” The rest of the day was spent repairing the car, and he re-emerged toward the end of the day to set the third-fastest time.
Daniel Ricciardo stayed in the Red Bull for a second day, but the Aussie lost the morning to an electrical problem.
“We had a few issues this morning which limited our running, but the afternoon was a lot better,” said Ricciardo. “This afternoon was about gathering a lot of data for the aero guys, so there were no real performance runs, just pure testing. At the end of the day we got a few medium-length runs in and a few balance changes, like we did yesterday. So not really a day for the timesheets, but one for the people at the factory and the guys behind the laptops.”
Grosjean’s day was ruined by a power-unit failure.
“We were hoping for a good day’s testing today with a program based on aerodynamic work,” he said. “Unfortunately, we struggled with power unit issues from the beginning, even when the car was able to run. Fortunately, we did manage some aero work, so we did collect some useful data. However, we fell far short of what we wanted to achieve. We will analyse the data collected to help us get a better understanding of the car so we can move forwards in China.”
|2||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:35.557||64|
|4||Sergio Pérez||Force India||1:36.586||63|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:37.310||67|
|7||Giedo van der Garde||Sauber||1:37.623||77|