Pastor Maldonado and Lotus set the fastest time on the second and final day of the Barcelona test, but the big story of the day was the appearance of the ‘noise trumpet’ on the back of the Mercedes. Unfortunately it’s a case of back to the drawing board as the ungainly looking device failed to have much of an impact.
After his frustrating race weekend Maldonado used Pirelli’s supersoft tires to set his time and, more importantly, he completed 102 laps and finally had a chance to get to grips with the E22.
“That was a complete day for us and my first normal day of testing this season,” said the Venezuelan. “We didn’t have any problems and we gained a lot of good running with good track conditions compared to yesterday’s. We ran to plan and completed everything we wanted to do. We learnt a lot more about the car, the setup and performance is improving all the time so I’m feeling more comfortable to push too. It’s been a big step forward today which hopefully means we’ll be much better for the rest of the season.”
Nico Rosberg completed an identical mileage to Maldonado, the German admitting that a new solution would be sought for the noise issue. He set the second best time of the day on medium tires.
“Everyone was talking about the exhaust but to be honest I didn’t notice much difference in the sound,” said Rosberg. “Of course, we’re happy to try these things if that’s what the FIA and the fans want us to do. But perhaps this was not the right solution.
“One of the main things we looked at was braking. This is an area where I haven’t felt 100 percent happy yet this year, so we’re continuously assessing ways to improve on that.
“We also worked on starts as this has been a bit of a weakness for the team this season. It’s not easy as it’s such a sophisticated procedure and there are some highly complex parts involved like the clutch, for example. But we definitely learned some interesting things. Other than that it was the usual setup and engine management work that you’d expect at a test.”
After a difficult Tuesday that was stymied by engine problems and an off, Kimi Raikkonen ran 94 laps and set the third best time, despite most of his his focus being on aero testing.
Susie Wolff had a day in the Williams ahead of her planned Friday FP1 running in Silverstone and Hockenheim. She had a trip into the gravel trap and used soft tires to go fifth fastest on the day.
Sebastian Vettel started the day late due to gearbox problems suffered yesterday by Sebastien Buemi, and the German set the seventh best time.
“The problems of yesterday made us a bit late out this morning but the afternoon was productive and we did a lot of laps which, considering the time we had, was good,” said Vettel. “We used the tires that we used last weekend, as we want to try to understand the car more and in terms of that I think we have learned a lot, so I would say it was a useful, if not perfect, day.”
Both Force India and McLaren used test drivers for days earmarked for Pirelli running. Daniel Juncadella had an early crash in the Force India but otherwise had a good day.
“The last time I drove the car was in Jerez in January when the track was cold and damp, so it felt good to have a completely dry day,” said the DTM racer. “The main job today was to evaluate tires for Pirelli so there was not really that much we could change with the setup. The focus was simply on giving accurate feedback on the tires and we delivered that successfully.”
The highly rated Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne made his debut and ran 136 laps on development hard tires.
Caterham did not appear today due to damage incurred in Kamui Kobayashi’s accident yesterday.
- Pastor Maldonado (Lotus) 1m24.871s
- Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1m25.805s
- Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 1m26.480s
- Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) 1m26.972s
- Susie Wolff (Williams) 1m27.280s
- Jules Bianchi (Marussia) 1m27.718s
- Sebastian (Vettel) Red Bull 1m27.973s
- Daniel (Juncadella) Force India 1m28.278s
- Stoffel (Vandoorne) McLaren 1m28.441s
- Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) 1m28.910s