Felipe Massa was quickest for Williams on the final day of the opening 2014 F1 test in Jerez.
Rain for the first half of the day gave drivers the chance to get in wet running, but conditions were better later on. However, a series of red flags disrupted progress, and in effect the overall times were meaningless.
Mercedes topped the mileage charts as Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton shared the W05, logging a total of 133 laps between them. Fernando Alonso managed 115 for Ferrari, and Kevin Magnussen 110 for McLaren. However it was another disastrous day for Red Bull as the team was forced to pack up after Daniel Ricciardo had completed only seven laps, bringing the RB10′s total for the weekend to 21.
Although topping the times meant little, it was a useful day’s work for Williams.
“It wasn’t a great day because it was raining,” said Massa. “But we completed some laps in the wet conditions which was interesting to understand how the car behaves in wet, with the tires and new power unit. We managed to do many more laps today than we have in the last three days which is important. Today we didn’t have any issues with the car which I think is also another step forward.
“We now need to concentrate and prepare with an aim to do more laps per day in Bahrain. Overall, I’m happy with my first days with Williams, and I’m pleased with what I have seen in the team this week. For sure it is important to be competitive, but testing is testing, and we now need to look to prepare for Bahrain and then towards the first race, which is the most important thing.”
Alonso was second fastest as Ferrari enjoyed its best day thus far with the F14 T.
“A busy and very demanding day, during which we were able to do a good number of laps, which is the real aim of this first test,” said Alonso. “It’s difficult to get a clear picture of the behaviour of the wet tires because the track conditions were in between damp and dry, which is maybe the worst situation for understanding how the Intermediates perform. The afternoon went well and we tried various aerodynamic and mechanical configurations, gathering a lot of data that will prove useful to continue the development work of the car.”
Force India reserve driver Daniel Juncadella impressed as he enjoyed a solid day’s running, logging more laps than the regular race drivers did over the previous days combined. He set the third fastest time of the day.
“I took things very cautiously because I had never driven a Formula One car in the wet and for the whole day the track still had damp patches,” said the Spaniard. “It was a case of building up my confidence and learning how the team operates. It was a great experience and I made sure to make the most of it. We covered a lot of laps, which was a big improvement after quite a frustrating day yesterday. It’s what the team needed before the Bahrain test to really start understanding the car.
Having been fastest yesterday Kevin Magnussen had a crashed late on today, which put an end to McLaren’s running.
Hamilton had the benefit of drier conditions than Rosberg, who went out first and posted the fifth fastest time.
“I was a little bit down on mileage this week, so it was good to get some more time in the car this afternoon, as every little helps at this stage,” said Hamilton. “It’s been a fantastic week for the team. We’ve put a lot of laps on the car which is a huge accomplishment. It’s a bit early to say this definitely, but right now the car feels pretty good. Like every year we’ve got a lot of work to do; it’s a new challenge this season and the workload is maybe a bit higher than in previous years, but it’s a new experience for everyone and I’m enjoying it.
“This week has just been about getting the mileage on the car and we’ve managed to do that quite successfully, which is really encouraging as reliability is the biggest positive we could hope to take away from here. So far so good; now we just have to continue working hard and see what happens in Bahrain.”
“It’s come as a bit of a surprise that we were able to do so many laps here today and throughout the whole week,” said his teammate Rosberg. “I was able to do a full race simulation on only the fourth day of winter testing, so we can be very happy about that. We decided that I should stop driving at lunch time and hand over to Lewis as I had collected a lot more mileage than him at the time, which is a normal team decision.
“Performance-wise we don’t know where we are because you can’t really compare to the other cars, but that’s not the focus right now. We’ve learned a lot this week so it’s an encouraging start to the year.”
Jules Bianchi had his first run in the Marussia, while Kamui Kobayashi drove the Caterham. Like RBR Toro Rosso had a difficult day as Daniil Kvyat ran only a few laps.
1. Felipe Massa Williams 1m28.229s 86
2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m29.145s 115
3. Daniel Juncadella Force India 1m29.457s 81
4. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1m30.806s 110
5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m30.822s 41
6. Jules Bianchi Marussi 1m32.222s 25
7. Adrian Sutil Sauber 1m36.571s 69
8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m36.951s 91
9. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1m43.193s 54
10. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m44.016s 9
11. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m45.374s 7