Brought to you by TJ13 track side reporter Adam Macdonald (@adamac39)
McLaren managed to make it out again for one more lap and so finished the day on a grand total of 6, the same as yesterday. The work will continue long into the night as they work to combat the stuttering engine they have in the back of the MP4-30. At a race track where their power has won 3 consecutive Grand Prix from 1987 to 1989, the frustration will set in as they lose vital time to test. If mileage is the key to ironing out the creases of the new technology, then this will undoubtedly be a massive setback.
Marcus Ericsson cut a confident figure in the paddock, a changed man from the driver we saw enter the sport 12 months ago. Of course, he would have been happy with the promotion to a more established team and one that has a (slightly) more secure presence in the paddock, but the manner in which he held himself was different as he enjoyed a day off. However, maybe it was merely a second season air of confidence, but it filtered down to the rest of the team. Sitting in the paddock hospitality, the whole Hinwil outfit feels like a different entity.
Felipe Nasr commented on his running today saying, “we took a nice step forward on the car. A nice combination of chassis and engine so I’m looking forward to see how we can develop on that.” Having completed most of their running for the two days and finished second on the timesheets two days in a row, with two new drivers, they have every right to be content.
These test sessions will be vital for Nasr as he makes up for the limited running he had in his test role at Williams last year. Having spent a lot of time in the simulator recently he said he feels ready for the season ahead.
Lewis Hamilton grinding to a halt sent the twittersphere into raptures as fans of the World Champion bemoaned his poor luck in Jerez, making reference to the spin which ended his first day of testing last year. Either way, 91 laps before any kind of technical issue is good going for a test session which is in principal a shakedown before the real work in Barcelona.
The only red flag of the day was brought out by Pastor Maldonado after he stopped out on track shortly after 3:30pm. A drivetrain issue was credited for curtailing the running for the day, although they won’t be too disappointed given that at one stage they had looked unlikely to arrive on the circuit in time to run today. Though he denied any problems surrounding sponsorship money, it would erroneous to say that all is secure for the Venezuelan.
He said, “we were more focused on mileage than performance. We are still looking for some programmes and taking some data.” Although he has driven the new car in the simulator, the new partnership with Mercedes still has a long way to develop before even the next test in Barcelona.
The rain came down on the Cadiz countryside blanketing the circuit in relative darkness. First as a mere trickle and then more strongly later on, it gave the ideal opportunity to try the 2015 intermediate tyres out.
With just under 40 minutes of the day to go, Max Verstappen and Felipe Nasr ventured out onto the track with an intermediate set of boots on. The young Dutchman completed a handful of laps before the chequered flag fell. Not before Sebastian Vettel had one last journey out onto the track, although nobody could stop top his time set earlier meaning he ended the second day leading the field.
The skeptics will point to the need to please shareholders and sponsors by setting headline laps, but having their two powertrained cars at the front cannot be seen as a bad thing. No doubt the Italian sports magazines will be awash with ‘Forza Seb’ tomorrow though; such is life.
Red Bull will be disappointed with their day after Daniil Kvyat broke their only front wing present. Evidently it was not worth risking their replacement later in the day in the downpour or on the drying track after. For a team that has made such loud noises about returning to winning ways they have been underwhelming.
The big winner with the rain was photographers who were afforded the brief opportunity of snapping away on a drying track at the end. The glistening cars circulated just long enough for some shots of value.
And finally, the 20,000 people that were reported to have turned up today must have been so inspired by the Red Bull livery that today they came in fancy dress wearing the same. The crowd was far smaller than that as the sleepy feel to the circuit felt almost asleep towards the end of the day. The 117,000 fans that turned out for Moto GP in May are clearly far less interested in watching those on four wheels test.
In truth, not an awful lot garnered from this afternoon’s limited running – unless of course you have been living under a rock for the past 13 months.