THIS PAGE WILL BE UPDATED EVERY FEW MINUTES
Hello and welcome all persons out there on the interwebs as the politically correct collective of TJ13 commentators resume their entirely objective coverage of the last (that’s too nihilistic)… of the chronologically advanced day of Formula One testing at Barcelona, Spain.
So far we had only one red coloured cloth event, when Latitude-disadvantaged person Daniel Ricciardo had to abandon his vehicle in the aftermath of a seizure of function event earlier today. we have been told however that his vehicle has been restored to working order by the gender-neutral collective in the Red Bull-themed garage.
There seems to be a resumption of work event below our commentary booth as we are sensing a slight tremble under our feet.
And there is the green cloth being waved!
Northern European inhabitant Valteri Bottas returns to the dedicated for service area after what is commonly referred to as an ‘installation lap’ and practices the start of a race.
Island inhabitant Jenson Button is reported to have started his run, which elates many observers. Their expression of emotion is indeed quite spirited.
Although Mr. Button has indeed circumnavigated the track successfully, many observers are disappointed at the lack of something called ‘a lap time’. Apparently the British national has only managed to circle the designated route four times so far.
There is an interruption of activity event!
Apparently, Venezuelan national Pastor Maldonado has involuntarily collided with track-side objects.
It appears that after Mr. Maldonado’s destructive misadventure, there will be an extended period of reconstructive activity.
There is the resumption of activity event!
There is a quite elated celebration among English-speaking members of the journalism community as Jenson Button finally completes a lap.
We are informed that Mr. Adrian Newey is less than pleased with the performance of Renault: “Those frequent failures worry me.” Mr. Newey says. “It’s always something else.”
The wisdom of allying with the French has always been questionable at best. It eludes my wisdom why Mr. Newey is surprised.
When Mr. Arai from Japan was asked about the unique sound of the Honda engine, he reacted rather nervously by saying “secret, sorry”. We think that is a much more palatable way to say “our shit doesn’t run on all pots yet.
Meanwhile Red Bull have flown in a new car. Several Force India folk are said to have fainted.
And we’re stopped!
Verstappen’s Baby Bull rests on a service road near turn 3.
A bit of a blackout as I got a call from Parent Hippos, but I’m back. The track is green again and lo and behold – McLaren managed an entire three laps without exploding. Jenson manages a 1:26.323 on soft tires. Nobody is seen quivering.
With that the Hippo trundles off and hands the mic over to our friend from the distant shores of Americaland – the stage is all yours Mr. Trumpets…
Well thanks again Mr. Hippo for your adroit and ummm… “colorful” coverage. This being the day of the week that Ms. Trumpet55 deigns to feed me in the AM, I am ready for whatever brand of crazy is scheduled for this afternoon.
I will start with some lap times from Vettel’s last stint: 1:33.1, 1:32.1, 1:32.8 and 1:36.6. Not sure what he was on about and back at TJ13 towers the debate still rages as to whether Button’s 3 laps represented their actual race sim or not. One can easily see both sides of the argument after the week they’ve had.
Rosberg has been called in to box with 93 laps under his firesuit and the team crowing about his mileage. That’s already more in hand than Lewis yesterday with two and a half hours to go. Lewis lost a fair amount of time to a 3 hour “experiment” that kept him off track for a big chunk of the afternoon, but no word on its success as of yet.
Joining him in the pits is Bottas. Williams wrapped Felipe’s test up almost an hour early yesterday so perhaps they are trying to stretch a bit today to keep the sponsors happy.
Button rolls cautiously out of the pits. Yes, under his own power! Once you regain your seats I will point out he is joining only Vettel and Nasr. Though that’s not as safe as it sounds as Nasr has already demonstrated his ability to unerringly hit other cars with the track mostly empty
The race is on in the Toro Rosso garage to sort out the engine problem that stopped him earlier. And while I dig up that bit of news, Button returns to the pits, having rocked up a 1:25.994 and bringing his lap counter up to a staggering 23. That, by the way, in McLaren laps is the equivalent of almost 2 GP distances.
AS the McHonda boys congratulate themselves, Rosberg decides to increase his lap total and is back out on track sporting the hard shoes.
In actual news, here are the times from Perez’ last stint on the Medium tyre:
1:31.8, 1:31.7, 1:32.1, 1:32.2, 1:32.1, 1:32.3, 1:32.5, 1:32.5, 1:32.1, 1:33.6, 1:33.0, 1:32.8, 1:32.8, 1:33.0, 1:32.9, 1:33.1 minutes.
Basically a lot of very slow, steady laps which is either due to their utter lack of spare parts or a preview of their strategy for the rest of the year, given their financial position. Or both.
Vettel, meanwhile is turning laps on the same tyre, thus far: 1:30.7, 1:30.5 and 1:30.5, 1:30.6, 1:30.6 thus far.
Bottas has wandered back on track whilst I was transcribing lap times and Rosberg has joined him, cracking north of the 100 lap mark. Oh, and running 1:25’s for starters and hauling in Vettel to boot.
Warning: Gratuitous Picture of Williams ahead
Apropos of nothing as Nasr continues to endlessly circle the track, currently the lap leader on 123 with Rosberg P2 on 104.
Not a great day for Red Bull, Ricciardo out on the softs but with just 25 laps barely ahead of McLaren are words no Team Principal wishes to hear.
Button, too, has disappeared without comment, his car holed up in the garage and with just 2 hours left, not a lot of time for that promised race sim. Unless, of course, we have already seen it in the form of that 3 lap run. Apologies, Macca fans, I said the same about Lotus and Renault last year.
Track is getting busy again, with Rosberg being the only driver in the pits not potentially suffering from some kind of mechanical disaster. He joins Verstappen, Maldonado and Button in a thumb twiddling contest for the moment.
Here’s a lap count look to assuage your ennui:
Nasr – 126
Rosberg – 106
Perez – 90
Bottas – 83
Vettel – 79
Verstappen – 68
Maldonado – 36
Ricciardo – 26
Button – 23
And since we Yanks all love statistics, working backward here are some stint times for you:
Rosberg Hards: 1:25.9, 1:26.0, 1:28.7, 1:27.4, 1:27.3, 1:27.4, 1:27.6, 1:27.9, 1:27.9, 1:28.3 when he caught Vettel
Nasr Hards: 1:31.4, 1:31.2, 1:31.0, 1:30.8, 1:30.8, 1:31.0, 1:31.0, 1:31.2, 1:31.2, 1:31.2, 1:31.6, 1:31.7 , 1:31.8, 1:31.7, 1:31.8, 1:31.9, 1:31.9, 1:31.9, 1:32.3, 1:32.1, 1:32.0, 1:32.1, 1:32.4, 1:32.0, 1:32.4. 24 laps in case you don’t want to count them yourself.
Vettels as well on Mediums: 1:30.7, 1:30.5, 1:30.6, 1:30.6, 1:30.3, 1:30.6, 1:306, 1:31.8 (Rosberg overtakes him), 1:31.1, 1:31.4, 1:31.3, 1:31.2, 1:31.1, 1:31.4, 1:31.1, 1:31.5
Just Nasr and Perez now, what could possibly go wrong? Rhetorical question that, answers in the comments if you must. Nasr up to 138 laps and Perez up to 102.
This from 25 minutes ago:
The mind truly boggles. They’ve not been out since. Is it possible they truly think we won’t notice? Senseless optimism? Or a dedicated pro grinding on in the face of impossibility. Again, answers in comments, thanks.
Onto actual news, Ricciardo back out on Softs and up to 34 laps. And Rosberg, too, not done for the day apparently. Nico’s out on the Hards, though.
Afternoon shadows are beginning to fall, and with them, the temperatures. Both the track temp and the air temp have dropped several degrees in the last half hour. Currently 18C Air and 29C Track.
Reports of Motorhomes being moved now prevalent as the teams are beginning to disassemble the massive infrastructure that support them in anticipation of the end of testing.
Team Clean (Sauber) continue their impressive reliability run, up to 142 laps thus far with no issues. Ricciardo’s first few lap times on the softs have come in as well: 1:28.3, 1:28.9 and 1:28.9.
Red Bull confirm that it was an ERS problem that forestalled Danny Boy’s running today, but he is now out racking up some miles to make up for that. He’s over 40 laps and a full race distance is in sight.
Unless, of course, he pits the moment I write that. Which just really happened.
Once you finish having a laugh at that, here are the times from Nasr’s last stint on the Hard tyre, which finishes his race sim: 1:29.9, 1:29.8, 1:30.6, 1:30.5, 1:30.3, 1:30.3, 1:30.0, 1:30.1, 1:30.2, 1:30.0, 1:30.6, 1:30.2, 1:30.1, 1:30.0, 1:30.5, 1:30.2, 1:30.1, 1:30.6, 1:30.6, 1:30.3, 1:30.5, 1:30.1
Ricciardo’s last 2 laps: 1:29.5 and 1:29.5.
Rosberg rolls into the pits and it’s just Perez for the moment on track. 104 laps and P5 to his name at the moment, running on the Mediums. Track has dropped another 2 degrees, but the air temperature has stayed constant.
Vettel rejoins on Mediums, saving me from the embarrassment of rampant speculation. With
89 (actually 83, apologies) laps on board, not much of a stretch to think they want to get over 100 for the day.
STOP THE PRESSES (of the Update button) JENSON ON TRACK!!!
That’s right, the McHonda is not hopelessly broken (yet) as it takes to the track on the SuperSoft tyres. Why, whatever could they be up to on those? Certainly not a glory run on a cooling track…
Ok, silliness over. Rosberg pits with ruthless Teutonic efficiency. 118 drama free laps.
Unconfirmed reports of Yakety Sax playing in the Macca garage are unconfirmed. But it would be kind of funny if they did. Till Ron made them stop. Wouldn’t be so funny then.
Rosberg did an in and out, but he’s on soft tyres this time. 119 laps and an hour to go. And now he’s back out, let’s see if this will be for times or tyre degradation.
The lads at AMuS report game over at Williams. Car and kit packed, km limit reached for testing, 4,192 all told. Again an early exit and perhaps a real sign that they’re planning to take Red Bull out of 2nd in the WCC. Assuming no problems with the Mercs, P3-P8 this year could offer some of the best racing we have seen in years.
Rosberg’s previous stint times on Hards: 1:25.7, 1:26.1, 1:26.4, 1:26.9, 1:27.1, 1:27.3, 1:27.5, 1:28.0, 1:27.9 and 1:28.0
Perez is in the pits now with 120 laps on the day, as is Button, who managed to turn a 1:25.327 on the Supersofts. Not exactly staggeringly quick, that. Good for P6 on the day just behind the Force India. Amusingly enough, perhaps, that was where they often found themselves at the start of last season as well. The more things change…
Meanwhile, here’s a little toy for you to play with:
One question though? When did it stop being a steering wheel and become a “Control Centre”? (Did I spell that Britishly enough for you, AJ?)
While I was amusing myself with that, Rosberg has continued to run, but no fast times. Vettel is approaching 100 laps and Ricciardo almost up to 50 at this point.
THIS JUST IN: BUTTON STILL IN PITS!!!
(Sorry, had to do that at least once)
An hour to go and Williams is done, Rosberg just back in and only Ricciardo and Vettel continue to work on track. Though one suspects that the mechanics in the Macca garage are also hard at work, no doubt muttering things like “I told them that was a stupid idea, but would they listen?” very, very quietly under their breath.
And just to make it exciting, Ricciardo is now within hailing distance of the Vettel’s Ferrari as Sebastian is comleting his 17th lap on the Mediums. It appears an overtake is imminent.
Lotus have packed it in as well as Williams. No final word from Toro Rosso, but the issue was mechanical and described as a several hour fix so it was going to be a push anyway to get young Max back out.
Nasr has rejoined the track on Softs. With 145 laps and P3 we’ll have to wait and see exactly what he is up to.
While we wait to see if Nasr tries to go faster, here are the times from Vettel’s last stint on Mediums: 1:29.7, 1:29.7, 1:29.8, 1:29.8, 1:30.2, 1:30.1, 1:30.0, 1:30.6, 1:30.6, 1:31.1, 1:30.9, 1:30.7, 1:31.0, 1:31.0, 1:31.9, 1:31.7
And as I get that down, Vettel is tossed back out on the unmarked prototype tyre from Pirelli. It’s a Medium with a lower operating range for winter testing.
Having pitted with his Softs, we can conclude that Rosberg was on a data collection run of some kind as he did not improve his P6 time at all.
And it’s the boys in the Toro Rosso garage getting some kind of bonus today as young Verstappen is back on track with 35 minutes left in the session.
And Button is back out on the Supersofts again. It might yet be 30 laps for McHonda. The suspense is killing me. Will they make it?
And the answer is yes, but in the pits so no, not really.
Rosberg again out on the Softs, joining Perez, Nasr, Vettel and Verstappen.
Updated lap count for you as well:
Nasr – 149
Rosberg – 131
Perez – 120
Vettel – 106
Bottas – 89
Verstappen – 69
Ricciardo – 58
Maldonado – 36
Button – 29
We now have the source of Button’s problem. A water leak, apparently. They must have fixed it long enough for the installation lap. I won’t say that I predicted this yesterday in comments, but oops did I say that out loud?
Verstappen, meanwhile is back on it. Up to the 1:25’s and 74 laps before being called back in.
Scrubbed Softs and practice starts on the agenda for Rosberg during the last half hour. Perhaps a whiff of Abu Double in the air?
Verstappen back out and rocks up a 1:24.702, good for P5.
Button stays miserably parked in the garage, so a good guess is they didn’t fix that water leak as well as they thought.
Verstappen back in after his short glory run as well, leaving Vettel, Nasr, Ricciardo and Rosberg for the moment.
Ray of hope, anyone? Pat Symonds of Williams saying Merc suffered strong tyre degradation today that reminded him of 2012. Of course, at 2 seconds a lap one can generally afford an extra pit stop. Or is it possible that the cooler tracks have hidden the problem from them? We’ll all find out in a couple of weeks.
It has also been reported that the cause of Maldonado’s crash was actually not Maldonado but his brakes, which failed. Still, it ended their day early and leave them rather hard to place for the season opener.
Everyone seems to have given up for the moment except Vettel, Rosberg, Ricciardo and Verstappen. 10 minutes to go.
Game over for McHonda being bandied about the internet as well. Should be an interesting FP1 for them. By interesting, of course, I mean horrible.
Few more tidbits, Verstappen has indeed gone faster than Ricciardo, with a 1:24.527. Not quite as fast as Sainz Jr., yesterday, so that’s shaping up to be a good battle indeed.
There’s the table cloth!!
At the end it was Ricciardo, Verstappen and Perez together with Vetel trailing in to finish up the weekend.
Though no doubt deeper analysis will be taking place over the next few days, aside from the obvious trend of the Death Star (Mercedes) crushing all hope, it does look like both Sauber and Force India will be playing the long game on the tyres, hoping to make time through fewer pit stops.
Lotus is a bit of a mystery as they have been running for glory and sponsors, but if they have the cash they might yet have the pace to make a few surprise finishes.
Delightfully it appears to be a full cage death match between Williams, Red Bull, Ferrari for every place except the top two, with an occasional whiff of Toro Rosso thrown in for good measure.
It’s worth pointing out that though Symonds singled Merc out for tyre problems today, that had been one of William’s own weak spots from last year.
Here I am counting up the teams and thinking, “who’s been left out?” and why it’s McHonda of course. Possibly because I’m sure everyone on the team would like to forget the last two weeks as quickly as possible but mostly because it appears their role at the beginning of the year will be limited to comic relief.
That just leaves the completely blank slate of Manor-Marussia, about which we will know nothing until FP1 of the first Grand Prix of 2015,in astonishingly deadly Upside-Down land.
Thanks again for stopping by, for all the team it’s been a pleasure!
||Fast Lap Tyre