No one would have expected a Marussia to be at the sharp end of the timesheets, but Max Chilton did exactly that on the opening day of in-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya.
The Englishman rose to the top of the timesheets with a rapid 1:26.434 lap time late in the day, moving him just under a quarter of a second faster than Lotus reserve driver Charles Pic.
Chilton’s effort was interesting considering that time was some three seconds quicker than his fastest qualifying on Saturday (a 1:29.586), although in fairness little should be read into testing times given the teams are free to run whatever fuel loads, tyre compounds and set-ups they wish. Chilton’s effort came on Pirelli’s Super Soft rubber, when last weekend’s Grand Prix was restricted to the much slower Medium and Hard tyres.
Chilton managed sixty laps of the Barcelona circuit in a wet-dry day interrupted by seven red flags, finishing 0.227 seconds clear of Pic, who had his first outing in an F1 cockpit since his last Grand Prix with Caterham in 2013.
Spanish Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton was back behind the wheel of his Mercedes, finishing just one-hundredth of a second slower than Pic to claim third on the timesheets.
Kimi Räikkönen was fourth-fastest in his Ferrari, the last of the runners to lap within the 1m26s range. The Finn had a troubled day, however, managing just 21 laps after suffering engine problems and a trip through the kitty litter.
Toro Rosso’s Jean-Éric Vergne and Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg were next up, with their best times just three-thousandths of a second apart but over seven-tenths of a second off Räikkönen’s best lap.
Felipe Massa was next up the Williams as he continued to understand the tyre issues that hurt his performance last weekend. The Brazilian finished ahead of Jenson Button, with McLaren running a number of new components as it tries to accelerate the development to counter its relative loss of form. The controls of the MP4-29 will be handed over to reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne, who will have his first outing in a Formula 1 car.
Kamui Kobayashi finished the day ninth-quickest in the ill-handling Caterham, managing a healthy 72 laps as the team worked through a number of experimentations with set-up. Unfortunately his day ended in the barriers at Turn 3, meaning his mechanics had a long night ahead rebuilding the car for Wednesday’s planned running.
Red Bull Racing reserve driver Sébastien Buemi had his first outing in 2014-spec F1 machinery, although his time in the RB10 was halted by a gearbox failure after 54 laps’ running.
Slowest of all was the Sauber of Giedo van der Garde, who spent the day doing tyre testing for Pirelli. The Dutchman compiled more laps than anyone – 86 in total – as the team concentrated on long runs with high fuel, no doubt explaining their position on the timesheets.
The second and final day of the in-season test gets underway on Wednesday morning.
2014 Spain In-Season Test – Day 1 Results:
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Max Chilton||Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03||1:26.434||60|
|2.||Charles Pic||Lotus F1 Team Renault E22||1:26.661||+ 0.227||70|
|3.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W05||1:26.674||+ 0.240||79|
|4.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari F14T||1:26.965||+ 0.531||21|
|5.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR9||1:27.724||+ 1.290||52|
|6.||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India Mercedes Mercedes VJM07||1:27.727||+ 1.293||53|
|7.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW36||1:27.756||+ 1.322||55|
|8.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-29||1:28.333||+ 1.899||74|
|9.||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham F1 Team Renault CT05||1:30.101||+ 3.667||72|
|10.||Sébastien Buemi||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB10||1:31.440||+ 5.006||54|
|11.||Giedo van der Garde||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C33||1:31.783||+ 5.349||86|
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