Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas has posted the fastest overall time in Formula 1 pre-season testing so far at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, while his Finnish compatriot Kimi Räikkönen brought his day to an early close by crashing his Ferrari.
Bottas’ quickest lap, a 1:19.310, was the quickest time seen across the six days of testing held to-date at the Spanish Grand Prix’s home track. His time was recorded on the Soft compound Pirelli tyres.
Just 0.110 seconds behind was the preceding day’s fastest driver, Williams’ Felipe Massa, whose fastest time came on the Ultra Soft rubber. The Brazilian ran in the morning session before handing over controls of the FW40 to rookie teammate Lance Stroll.
The Canadian youngster acquitted himself well after a poor introduction to 2017-spec machinery last week, clocking 59 laps with his fastest time coming on the Super Soft tyres.
His time was enough to edge Bottas’ teammate Lewis Hamilton, who drove 79 laps in the afternoon session and posted his fastest time on the Soft compound Pirelli tyres.
Largely considered to be Mercedes’ closest rivals in terms of outright pace, Ferrari suffered a troubled day in what has been a largely productive pre-season period for the Italian team. With Kimi Räikkönen allocated the day’s running, the Finn was confined to the garage over an unspecified technical issue.
Once out on track, he completed 53 laps and wound up third-fastest overall. With two hours of the day to go, however, he lost control of the car at Turn 3. Spinning through the gravel, he hit the barriers and his SF70H sustained bodywork damage that put the team out of action for the rest of the day.
Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen was fourth-fastest and clocked 102 laps – the highest of the field for the day – in his RB13. His total should have been higher were it not for the team electing to complete a power unit change in the afternoon. The Dutch driver later returned to the track later on, but stopped on track at Turn 13 with 20 minutes of the session left.
While Verstappen’s was the highest single mileage tally among the drivers, it was still short of the impressive combined totals of both Mercedes (149 laps) and Williams (122 laps), who have been virtually bulletproof from a reliability perspective.
Two other drivers came close to toppling Verstappen’s efforts. Sergio Pérez managed a century of laps in his Force India, while Carlos Sainz Jr was just short of the 100-lap milestone in his Toro Rosso.
Two other teams – Renault and Sauber – split their track time between their two drivers. The former ran Nico Hülkenberg in the morning over a near-race distance of 61 laps, while teammate Jolyon Palmer was delayed getting out on track in the afternoon and was restricted to just 29 laps for the day. The Briton was the slowest of the runners, with his fastest time over five seconds off Bottas’ quickest effort.
Sauber also ran both Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson over the day, with Wehrlein finishing three-tenths of a second quicker in the C36. The duo managed a solid 105 laps between them over the day.
By contrast, it was another poor showing at McLaren. Fernando Alonso had driving duties for the day and managed just 46 laps all up. While engine partner Honda insisted that the day had gone to plan, Alonso contradicted that message and openly criticised the Japanese company’s redesigned power units as being unreliable and down on power.
F1 pre-season testing continues in Barcelona on Thursday.
|2017 FORMULA 1 PRE-SEASON TEST – DAY 6 UNOFFICIAL TIMES|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Tyre||Laps|
|1.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:19.310||70|
|2.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:19.410||63|
|3.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:20.406||53|
|4.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:20.432||102|
|5.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:20.579||59|
|6.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:20.702||79|
|7.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:21.213||61|
|8.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:21.297||100|
|9.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR12||1:21.872||92|
|10.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:21.887||96|
|11.||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:23.000||59|
|12.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda MP4-31||1:23.041||46|
|13.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:23.384||46|
|14.||Jolyon Palmer||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:24.774||29|
Image via Mercedes AMG F1 Petronas