Nico Rosberg topped the opening day of testing at Bahrain just two days after his second place finish here. (Photo: LAT Photographic)

topped the opening day of testing at Bahrain just two days after his second place finish here. (Photo: LAT Photographic)

After a break of just one day the teams were back in action in Bahrain for the start of the first of four two-day in-season tests.

All the teams ran their regular race drivers today with the exceptions of Sauber, who used Sergey Sirotkin, and Caterham, who ran Robin Frijns. All teams have to devote one of their eight days to Pirelli, and today it was the turn of Caterham. For everyone else it was a valuable chance to catch their breath between races, try new parts, and work on setups.

Not surprisingly, today closely followed the race weekend form, with Nico Rosberg and Mercedes heading the times from the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg.

“Our main aim today was to try different directions with setup and to get to know the tires a bit better,” said Rosberg. “You never stop learning how to get the best out of the tires, so it has been a productive day from that perspective. We also did a bit of work on the brakes as this is an area I’m not 100 percent happy with at the moment.

“We’ve had a good few weeks on track but you are never at the maximum level of performance. There is always more to be found and we are constantly pushing to improve the car and also ourselves as drivers. Having said that, the team are doing a fantastic job with this car from every perspective. Reliability, car performance, Power Unit performance: it’s all there and it’s a pleasure to be a part of a team with such positive momentum.”

After a disappointing race, Fernando Alonso was third fastest for Ferrari ahead of Kevin Magnussen, who will run both days for McLaren.

Having got both cars to the flag on Sunday, Lotus had a terrible day, with Pastor Maldonado running only 16 laps.

“This morning our program was focused on aerodynamic work and we achieved a lot, even with a limited amount of laps,”said the Venezuelan. “This afternoon the plan was to work on performance, evaluating parts and setups. However, we have not been able to run though the program due to power unit issues. We need to check and understand what has happened. This is what testing is for, even though we would have preferred to have been able to complete more laps today.”

  1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes): 1m35.697s (121 laps)
  2. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India): 1m36.064s (69 laps)
  3. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari): 1m36.626s (68 laps)
  4. Kevin Magnussen (McLaren): 1m36.634s (102 laps)
  5. Valtteri Bottas (Williams): 1m37.305s (28 laps)
  6. Max Chilton (Marussia): 1m37.678s (60 laps)
  7. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull): 1m38.326s (91 laps)
  8. Sergey Sirotkin (Sauber): 1m39.023s (76 laps)
  9. Robin Frijns (Caterham): 1m40.027s (62 laps)
  10. Pastor Maldonado (Lotus): 1m40.183s (16 laps)
  11. Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso): 1m40.452s (67 laps)
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