Force India returnee Nico Hülkenberg has taken the Silverstone team to the top of the timesheets as pre-season testing resumed, this time in the warmer climes of Bahrain.
While the German was almost a full second quicker than the rest of the field, his compatriot – the reigning champion Sebastian Vettel – had another torrid outing, with the radical Red Bull Racing RB10 once again failed to clock any reasonable mileage.
Hülkenberg’s Day 1 benchmark came courtesy of a late run on Pirelli’s soft tyre, perhaps giving the VJM07 a flattering performance given he was the only runner to sample the tyre maker’s grippier rubber.
The man many reckoned should have been Alonso’s 2014 teammate at Ferrari comfortably eclipsed the Spaniard, who finished second-quickest despite triggering the day’s first of four red flags when his Ferrari ground to a smoky halt just minutes into the test getting underway.
Lewis Hamilton was behind the wheel of the Mercedes F1W05, once again enjoying a largely trouble-free run behind the wheel to finish the day third-fastest, less than three-hundredths of a second slower than Alonso.
Fourth-quickest was fellow Mercedes runner Kevin Magnussen, with the F1 rookie completing the most mileage of the day en route to posting the fourth-fastest time of the day, three-tenths slower than Hamilton.
Sebastian Vettel was behind the wheel of the Red Bull Racing RB10 and he finished fifth-fastest, although with just fourteen laps for the entire day, it was another troubling performance for the reigning champions.
The German’s exit from the pit lane was delayed by a number of hours, and his on-track time lasted just a few minutes before his day came to an end with another technical failure, although the team was at pains to stress that it had massive progress since its disastrous showing a fortnight ago in Spain.
Sauber’s Adrian Sutil was an unhappy sixth-quickest in the Ferrari-powered C33, complaining that the 2014-spec Pirelli tyres are far too hard and lacking in grip – he demonstrated the fact with a spin at Turn 1 which triggered one of the day’s full course stoppages.
Caterham was once again the only Renault-powered team to complete any meaningful mileage, with Dutch test driver Robin Frijns completing 68 laps for the day.
By contrast, fellow Renault runner Toro Rosso also had a disrupted day, with rookie driver Daniil Kvyat mustering a paltry five tours of the Sakhir circuit before his car stopped with an oil leak.
The ‘manta ray’ nosed car carried its front-end asymmetry to a number of other areas of the car – most notably its oddly placed rear wing centre mount – and it was not a surprise to see Romain Grosjean manage just a handful of laps as the team ran a series of system-checking laps that brought about the usual early mileage maladies.
Felipe Massa and Jules Bianchi managed a few installation laps all day, with their Williams and Marussia teams stymied by respective fuel system and IT configuration dramas.
Day 2 of pre-season testing in Bahrain gets underway at 9:00am local time (GMT+3) on Thursday.
2014 Formula 1 Pre-Season Test – Bahrain Day 1 Results:
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Laps|
|1.||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India Mercedes VJM07||1:36.880||78|
|2.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F14T||1:37.879||64|
|3.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W05||1:37.908||74|
|4.||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren Mercedes MP4-29||1:38.295||81|
|5.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB10||1:40.224||14|
|6.||Adrian Sutil||Sauber Ferrari C33||1:40.443||82|
|7.||Robin Frijns||Caterham Renault CT05||1:42.534||68|
|8.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR9||1:44.346||5|
|9.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus Renault E22||1:44.832||8|
|10.||Felipe Massa||Williams Mercedes FW36||no time||5|
|11.||Jules Bianchi||Marussia Ferrari MR03||no time||3|
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