Nico Rosberg and Mercedes topped the times in Bahrain today, and the German also set the fastest time of the week.
It was not a perfect day as he stopped on circuit and brought out red flag on two occasions, but still managed to record 89 laps, the highest number achieved by any driver today.
“We can be very pleased with the first test in Bahrain this week,” said Rosberg. “We completed a lot of mileage and learned more about the car with every lap we achieved. This morning we were able to try some qualifying practice runs which felt good, meaning I could attack the lap a bit as I found a good balance. Later in the day we did a race simulation, which was crucial to learn all the new things in the car.
“There was a lot of feedback from the engineers, so my head was full of information! We suffered with an issue at the end of the day which ended our program slightly early. There is still some way to go for us to manage the reliability before Melbourne as this will play a huge factor in the early races, but we’re hopeful that we can make another step towards achieving this next week.”
The now familiar pattern continued as Jenson Button and McLaren were the closest challengers to Mercedes, albeit over 1.6 seconds off today.
Ferrari had a good day, with Kimi Raikkonen logging 82 laps before crashing in the closing minutes of the session, bringing proceedings to a slightly premature halt for everyone.
“We have managed to improve some things compared to Jerez and we continue to understand more about the behavior of the car,” said Kimi. “We tried various solutions to try and be as well prepared as possible for next week’s test and for the start of the season. I spun on the kerb at the exit of turn 4, these things can happen. Luckily, it was right at the end of the day, I’m only sorry because it means the team now has more work to do.”
New Williams reserve driver Felipe Nasr made his Formula One debut and did an impressive job, completing 87 laps without major incident, and setting the fourth fastest time.
“I am very happy to have driven a Formula One car for the first time, and reaching 87 laps made it also a very productive day,” said the Brazilian. “There were so many things going through my head before sitting in the car. It was what I was expecting though: very different to any other car I have ever driven with the amount of downforce, brake efficiency and the power. It was a learning process for me, but I was giving feedback to the engineers all day and I think we found some good things.”
Lotus had a good day, with Pastor Maldonado logging 59 laps and finally enjoying a chance to get to grips with the car.
“We gained a lot more laps today and it was good for me to get time in the car,” said the Venezuelan. “There was a lot of work with different settings, aero runs and similar which meant there was quite a lot to think about, but I think it all went well. The car was much more reliable which has helped with our work and hopefully it’s a good sign for next week.”
All the remaining teams had major dramas of one kind of another, with none completing more than the 21 laps achieved by the combined efforts of the two Caterham drivers, the green car having been hit by electrical problems. Sergio Perez was stopped early by a gearbox issue in the Force India, while Daniel Ricciardo could add only 15 laps to the total achieved so far by Red Bull.
“In all honesty it wasn’t a great day today,” said Ricciardo. “I guess we still need more time. We have four more days coming up and hopefully we can maximize those. I have to say that on the run we did today the car did feel better. But unfortunately another problem arose and we couldn’t exploit that potential. I hope we can do more running next week. I’m happy I’m doing the first two days. At this stage we just need laps and I’m just hanging to get back in the car.”
Sauber discovered a chassis failure, and the team had to make a big effort to switch to the spare tub, although in the end Adrian Sutil didn’t do a flying lap.
|6||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:39.258||19|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:39.837||15|
|8||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:40.472||19|
|11||Adrian Sutil||Sauber||No time||7|
|12||Jules Bianchi||Marussia||No time||5|