F1 final pre-season testing wrap up

              Williams finished the final pre-season Formula 1 test of 2014 with the fastest time, as Mercedes-engined cars continued to lead the way in Bahrain, and Red Bull continued to struggle. Felipe Massa went quickest on day three of the test, lapping within a second of Nico Rosberg’s pole time for last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix and edging out Rosberg’s team-mate Lewis Hamilton (fastest on the final day) by two hundredths of a second. Williams was arguably the strongest performer across the final test, racking up more miles than any other team and suffering just one reliability issue, when the FW36’s Mercedes engine blew up on Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages of the final day.


            Meanwhile, the works Mercedes team suffered more glitches that hampered its running at this test, leading Rosberg to say that Mercedes is still not reliable enough heading towards the first race in Melbourne. The W05 required what the team described as a “precautionary” engine change ahead of day three, before a gearbox problem cost Hamilton nearly half the final day’s track time.

            Red Bull’s test started badly when ongoing cooling issues with the RB10 forced Daniel Ricciardo to miss most of the first day and declare the champion squad had “not been up to scratch” in pre-season. The Australian was more optimistic after a productive second day, during which he clocked 66 laps (including 20 consecutively) and set the third fastest time, but that proved merely a positive blip in an otherwise miserable week. World champion Sebastian Vettel failed to complete a lap on Saturday (despite two attempts) thanks to electrical problems, before a “mechanical issue at the front of the car” pitched the German off at Turn 1 on Sunday morning. He returned to the track in the afternoon, but failed to complete a race run while lapping at reduced pace.

            Sister squad Toro Rosso managed more laps, but only went slightly quicker than Ricciardo with Jean-Eric Vergne at the wheel at the end of the final day, while fellow Renault-powered team Lotus suffered a disastrous test. The Enstone squad found its running scuppered by exhaust problems and engine failures, leading technical director Nick Chester to declare the team’s cars would be lucky to make the finish in Melbourne.

Ferrari finally managed to complete race runs with Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, after falling behind with its programme at the previous test. But both were significantly slower than Mercedes managed, and team principal Stefano Domenicali admitted the Scuderia has “work to do” to catch Mercedes and Williams, which outpaced Alonso on the final day.

            Jenson Button expressed similar sentiments about McLaren’s chances after a difficult final test for the Working team. Team-mate Kevin Magnussen completed 197 largely trouble-free laps, but wound up only 11th fastest overall, while Button clocked only 74 after suffering a loss of drive on day two and an engine failure on day four.

            Force India also had an engine failure on the final day in Bahrain with Nico Hulkenberg driving, but the German’s team-mate Sergio Perez hailed the “great step” made by the team since the second test. The Mexican topped the times on the first two days and managed more than 100 laps on each of them – including an impressive race run on Friday.

            Bar the engine problem that robbed Adrian Sutil of a full day’s running on Saturday, Sauber again showed the C33 has reasonable reliability but lacks speed. Sutil was only 13th fastest overall, and team-mate Esteban Gutierrez 17th.

            Marussia made decent progress with its car at the final test, managing to lap within four seconds of the ultimate pace with Max Chilton at the wheel on the final day, while Caterham clocked more laps but could not get within a second of the pace of its back-of-the-grid rival.

Combined test times:


Pos  Driver             Team/Car              Time       Gap      Day

 1.  Felipe Massa       Williams-Mercedes     1m33.258s           Sat

 2.  Lewis Hamilton     Mercedes              1m33.278s  +0.020s  Sun

 3.  Nico Rosberg       Mercedes              1m33.484s  +0.226s  Sat

 4.  Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes     1m33.987s  +0.729s  Sun

 5.  Fernando Alonso    Ferrari               1m34.280s  +1.022s  Sun

 6.  Sergio Perez       Force India-Mercedes  1m35.290s  +2.032s  Thurs

 7.  Kimi Raikkonen     Ferrari               1m35.426s  +2.168s  Sat

 8.  Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes  1m35.577s  +2.319s  Sun

 9.  Jean-Eric Vergne   Toro Rosso-Renault    1m35.701s  +2.443s  Sun

10.  Daniel Ricciardo   Red Bull-Renault      1m35.743s  +2.485s  Fri

11.  Kevin Magnussen    McLaren-Mercedes      1m35.894s  +2.636s  Sat

12.  Daniil Kvyat       Toro Rosso-Renault    1m36.113s  +2.855s  Sat

13.  Adrian Sutil       Sauber-Ferrari        1m36.467s  +3.209s  Sun

14.  Max Chilton        Marussia-Ferrari      1m36.835s  +3.577s  Sun

15.  Jenson Button      McLaren-Mercedes      1m36.901s  +3.643s  Fri

16.  Jules Bianchi      Marussia-Ferrari      1m37.087s  +3.829s  Sat

17.  Esteban Gutierrez  Sauber-Ferrari        1m37.303s  +4.045s  Sun

18.  Sebastian Vettel   Red Bull-Renault      1m37.468s  +4.210s  Sun

19.  Marcus Ericsson    Caterham-Renault      1m38.083s  +4.825s  Sat

20.  Kamui Kobayashi    Caterham-Renault      1m38.391s  +5.133s  Sun

21.  Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Renault         1m39.302s  +6.044s  Sun

22.  Pastor Maldonado   Lotus-Renault         1m40.599s  +7.341s  Thurs

Total running in test three:



                   Laps  Km

Valtteri Bottas    236   1277                

Sergio Perez       213   1152

Felipe Massa       202   1093

Kevin Magnussen    197   1066

Fernando Alonso    196   1060

Esteban Gutierrez  192   1039

Nico Rosberg       192   1039

Nico Hulkenberg    189   1022

Adrian Sutil       181   979

Marcus Ericsson    172   930

Lewis Hamilton     159   860

Jules Bianchi      153   828

Kimi Raikkonen     141   763

Daniil Kvyat       136   736

Jean-Eric Vergne   135   730

Kamui Kobayashi    125   676

Max Chilton        105   568

Daniel Ricciardo   105   568

Sebastian Vettel   78    422

Jenson Button      74    400

Romain Grosjean    65    351

Pastor Maldonado   62    335



             Laps  Km

Williams     438   2370

Force India  402   2175

Sauber       373   2018

Mercedes     351   1899

Ferrari      337   1823

Caterham     297   1607

Toro Rosso   271   1466

McLaren      271   1466

Marussia     258   1396

Red Bull     183   990

Lotus        127   687



          Laps  Km

Mercedes  1462  7912

Ferrari   968   5238

Renault   878   4751


Total running across pre-season testing:




Nico Rosberg       2813

Fernando Alonso    2698

Kevin Magnussen    2471

Valtteri Bottas    2389

Lewis Hamilton     2159

Esteban Gutierrez  2122

Felipe Massa       2034

Adrian Sutil       1917

Nico Hulkenberg    1840

Kimi Raikkonen     1790

Sergio Perez       1777

Jenson Button      1683

Marcus Ericsson    1536

Kamui Kobayashi    1365

Jean-Eric Vergne   1347

Daniil Kvyat       1111

Jules Bianchi      982

Sebastian Vettel   866

Daniel Ricciardo   845

Pastor Maldonado   796

Max Chilton        704

Romain Grosjean    492

Felipe Nasr        471

Robin Frijns       412

Daniel Juncadella  359




Mercedes     4973

Williams     4893

Ferrari      4489

McLaren      4153

Sauber       4039

Force India  3975

Caterham     3313

Toro Rosso   2458

Red Bull     1711

Marussia     1686

Lotus        1288




Mercedes  17994

Ferrari   10214

Renault   8770


Source: Autosport

Kunle Fayiga

Writer & Blogger

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