For a second successive day, Sergio Perez topped the times for Force India in Bahrain.
On a day when a lot of teams managed to avoid serious reliability issues, five cars managed to complete over 100 laps, while others enjoyed their best days of the winter thus far. However, it was a less productive day for Lotus and McLaren, with both teams missing out on a lot of running.
Perez was still some way off the best times set last week, and the pace is expected to ramp up at the front over the next couple of days as teams take the opportunity to pursue qualifying-spec runs.
“It feels very good to have another full day and to do so many laps,” said Perez. “It’s my last time in the car until we arrive in Melbourne and I’m feeling positive about how things are going. The setup work today was very useful because we tried some different things to have a better direction for the first race. Everything went to plan and we managed to complete all the long runs in the afternoon.”
Fernando Alonso was second fastest for Ferrari after successfully completing a race simulation in the afternoon, and logging a total of 122 laps for the day – the highest achieved by anyone.
“Six hundred kilometers are always welcome, but it’s still too early to say we are a hundred percent ready for Melbourne,” said Alonso. “We still have a lot to learn, but I am happy with the way the day went. In the morning, we did some setup work which taught us what was the best direction to go in, while in the afternoon, we managed to complete a race simulation and every lap we did can be added to the learning phase, which is the normal situation to be in during winter testing. On the performance front, it’s still difficult to have a clear idea of what our rivals are up to and I think we will only find that out in Australia.”
Red Bull had a much better say as Daniel Ricciardo logged 66 laps and set the third best time of the day, despite a late start after overnight work in the garage.
“It went a lot better today,” said Ricciardo. “This morning it was important to have the race crew here to do the pit stops, as they haven’t had the chance to get to grips with the car yet, so we didn’t do that many laps in the morning. However, in the afternoon we did some good stuff. We had a go on the soft tyre, which was nice, to see how the car responds with a bit more grip.”
Felipe Massa didn’t get much running last week, but he enjoyed a full day in the Williams which saw the Brazilian log 103 laps.
“I think it was another important day for us,” said Massa. “We are starting to understand the car a lot more. It was really my first full day driving, after only getting half a day last week, so I’m still looking forward to understanding more tomorrow and doing everything we can do to be as prepared as possible for the first race. I am happy with how we are working as a team and tomorrow will be another important day.”
Jenson Button’s day was spoiled by a gearbox failure that saw the McLaren driver complete only 52 laps, a figure that bettered only the 31 achieved by Lotus.
Marussia had a much better day, with Jules Bianchi finally getting some proper mileage in and setting the sixth best time.
“I am really happy with what we have achieved today,” said the Frenchman. “The car feels good and we have had the reliability to really build our mileage. We would have liked to have some more laps for sure, but we were able to enjoy some good runs and get a really good feeling for the car in high and low fuel conditions. I am looking forward to my second day of running tomorrow and I hope we can continue the good work of the last two days.”
Lewis Hamilton was a long way down the order after gearbox problems ended his day early. The Mercedes driver also spun off the circuit in the morning, without doing any serious damage.
“Like every team, we’re encountering problems every day and we’ve still got some work to do in terms of both reliability and speed. There are no specific problem areas, just lots of different things we need to improve. It’s important to get as much mileage under our belts as we can and just as important to discover any problems before we get to Melbourne. It might be frustrating at times but finding them at this stage is actually a positive. We really don’t know where anyone stands right now and we have enough to concentrate on without looking at how other teams are getting on. The focus is on ourselves and will continue to be right up to the first race.”
Pastor Maldonado’s final test day with the Lotus was curtailed by a fire which did sufficient damage to keep the car in the garage for the rest of the day.
|1||Sergio Pérez||Force India||1:35.570||108|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:35.743||66|
|8||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:39.636||61|