Nico Rosberg has wrapped up the second of the 2014 Formula 1 season’s pre-season tests by blitzing the rest of the field en route to the quickest overall lap time around Bahrain’s Sakhir International Circuit.
The German hurried his Mercedes F1W05 around the Gulf circuit with a time of 1:33.283 on a qualifying-style run, lapping within one second of the time he posted en route to claiming pole position at the same circuit last year.
His result backed up the timesheet-topping effort by his teammate Lewis Hamilton from the day prior. Rosberg quickly settled into his groove with the quickest provisional time at around 90 minutes into the day, before cementing his position with his unchallenged sub-1m34s effort.
His day didn’t go completely to plan, as he stalled exiting the pit lane on one run, and then ground to a halt towards the end of the day after successfully completing a full race simulation in the afternoon.
But all up, you could hardly call either of those as causes for major concern, particularly on account of the misfortune much of the rest of the field suffered…
Only five of the day’s twelve runners managed to clock up more than twenty laps, and worryingly for Renault, only one of this quintet was powered by its engines.
That honour fell to Pastor Maldonado, who clocked up almost sixty laps in Lotus’ eye-catching E22, which finally seemed to have overcome some of its maiden run teething issues.
The Venezuelan was fifth-quickest on the timesheets – or slowest of the runners to clock up any meaningful mileage – but at least he managed to give the Enstone team some useful data before next week’s final pre-season test.
He finished fractions quicker than Sergio Pérez, whose Force India cruised to a halt with a terminal drivetrain failure after just 19 laps.
Jenson Button wound up ‘best of the rest’ as the field’s second-fastest runner, mirroring the result he’d achieved 24 hours earlier.
Third-quickest went to Kimi Räikkönen, who bounced back from some limited running on Friday to muster 81 laps for the day in the F14T, although the tally could have been higher had he not thrown his car into the barriers with a few minutes of the day left to run. The accident caused substantial front-end damage to the car, giving his mechanics a longer night of repairs before the equipment could be packed up.
Williams’ newly-signed reserve driver Felipe Nasr was given his maiden outing in the FW36 and finished fourth-quickest, with a few interruptions for minor technical issues along the way.
The Red Bull Racing team’s pre-season woes continued once again, with Daniel Ricciardo compiling a quite pathetic fifteen laps before his RB10 ground to a halt with another terminal failure, following a separate stoppage triggered by “a software issue”. Also worrying was the fact that he was over six seconds off Rosberg’s ultimate pace, and almost four seconds adrift of the more representative high-fuel lap times.
The Milton Keynes squad has a huge mountain to climb before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, with just four days of on-track running to go in Bahrain…
With just four laps more mileage for the day and a further half a second adrift, Toro Rosso’s Jean-Éric Vergne had an equally fraught day. The STR9 has proven little better than its ‘big sister’ in the reliability and speed stakes following its off-season move to Renault power, and a premature end to its planned day was triggered by “several teething problems”, a statement from the team reads.
Caterham duo Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson were the only teammates to share driving duties, although neither managed any meaningful track time with separate electrically-induced stoppages while behind the wheel.
Adrian Sutil managed all of seven laps in his Sauber before an apparent issue with the monocoque interior necessitated a somewhat alarming need to change the chassis.
And while most pundits would be lamenting the lack of track time from the reigning champions at Red Bull Racing, spare a thought at the opposite end of the pit lane.
Marussia easily picked up the worst rub of the green in the Bahrain test mileage stakes, having mustered just 27 laps’ running over the entire four-day test (although still more than Red Bull Racing managed around Jerez a fortnight ago). The team blamed unspecified component reliability issues, and predictably declined to go into any further detail in its end-of-day press release.
The third and final pre-season test will remain at Bahrain, with the four-day event kicking off at 9:00am local time (GMT+3) on February 27.
2014 Formula 1 Pre-Season Test – Bahrain Day 4 Results:
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Laps|
|1.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W05||1:33.283||89|
|2.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-29||1:34.957||66|
|3.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari F14T||1:36.718||81|
|4.||Felipe Nasr||Williams Mercedes FW36||1:37.569||87|
|5.||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus Renault E22||1:38.707||59|
|6.||Sergio Pérez||Force India Mercedes VJM07||1:39.258||19|
|7.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Renault RB10||1:39.837||15|
|8.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR9||1:40.472||19|
|9.||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham Renault CT05||1:43.027||17|
|10.||Marcus Ericsson||Caterham Renault CT05||1:45.094||4|
|11.||Adrian Sutil||Sauber Ferrari C33||no time||7|
|12.||Jules Bianchi||Marussia Ferrari MR03||no time||5|
Images via XPB Images