Felipe Massa wound back the clock – or the stopwatch at least – with the fastest time on the first day of the second Formula 1 pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
The Brazilian posted a rapid 1:19.726 lap on Pirelli’s Soft-compound tyres shortly before the field broke for lunch, with the time proving unbeatable in the afternoon session.
The result would no doubt have been a confidence booster for the Williams team, which endured a troubled first week of testing thanks to a number of crashes by Massa’s rookie teammate Lance Stroll that significantly reduced the team’s on-track running.
Massa went some way to making up for lost track time, putting the Mercedes-powered FW40 through its paces and proving the car’s mechanical reliability with a staggering tally of 168 laps for the day.
Incredibly, it was a tally matched by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who put in an identical total in his SF70H en route to finishing third-fastest overall thanks to a quick Soft-tyre run in the afternoon.
While comparing lap times in these test sessions is ultimately a meaningless exercise, the German finished a scant 0.006 seconds behind former teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who wound up second-fastest in his Red Bull Racing RB13. The Australian’s best lap, also posted in the morning session, was 0.174 seconds slower than Massa’s, however he had to bolt on a set of Ultra Soft tyres to achieve the time.
Defending champions Williams split their running between Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas over the day’s respective morning and afternoon sessions. Hamilton finished fourth-fastest overall during his morning run, before handing over to the Bottas for the afternoon where the Finn was fifth overall.
The F1W08 was sporting a significant number of new parts as the team continues its aggressive pre-season development push. Most notably, the car featured a Red Bull inspired intake at the tip of the nose. The air intake is traditionally permitted for driver cooling, however given its enlarged size it is speculated that it provides additional temperature benefits to other part of the car.
Force India ran its new driver Esteban Ocon for the day and the Frenchman clocked an impressive 142 laps, finishing ahead of the man he replaced at the team, Nico Hülkenberg.
Hülkenberg ran in the afternoon for Renault, taking over from teammate Jolyon Palmer, who managed just 15 laps in the morning session before his RS17 ground to a halt in the pit lane. Hülkenberg brought out the red flags in the final minute of running in the afternoon – typically an ’empty tank’ simulation being tested – to bring the day’s running to a close.
Haas F1 Team driver Kevin Magnussen clocked over 80 laps in the team’s VF-17 to finish the day eighth-fastest.
He finished just ahead of Daniil Kvyat, who finally enjoyed a productive day’s running in the Toro Rosso STR12 and completed 83 laps. The Renault-powered car has been beset with reliability woes, so this result will be encouraging for the Italian team.
The same could not be said of McLaren-Honda. Once again the MCL32 required another Honda power unit change – an electrical issue was to blame this time – and that confined Stoffel Vandoorne to the garage for much of the morning.
Back on track in the afternoon, the Belgian made up somewhat for lost time with a solid 80-lap effort. Worryingly, however, the speed traps suggested that the orange-liveried car was some 25km/h down on Massa’s benchmark effort.
Having been given the all-clear to return to driving, Pascal Wehrlein had his first outing in the Sauber C36 after being forced to sit out last week while he completed his recovery from neck and back injuries sustained while competing in the Race of Champions. The German completed 47 laps in the morning session before handing over to teammate Marcus Ericsson in the afternoon.
F1 pre-season testing continues in Barcelona on Wednesday.
|2017 FORMULA 1 PRE-SEASON TEST – DAY 5 UNOFFICIAL TIMES|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Tyre||Laps|
|1.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:19.726||168|
|2.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:19.900||89|
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:19.906||168|
|4.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:20.456||49|
|5.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:20.924||86|
|6.||Esteban Ocon||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:21.347||142|
|7.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:21.589||58|
|8.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:21.676||81|
|9.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR12||1:21.743||83|
|10.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren-Honda MP4-31||1:22.537||80|
|11.||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:23.336||47|
|12.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:23.630||53|
|13.||Jolyon Palmer||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:24.790||15|
Williams Racing / LAT Images
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