Welcome back folks for the second part of TJ13’s coverage of the 7th day of pre-season testing.
There has been some activity just before and during the lunch break. Fernando Alonso has passed his annual evacuation test, during which a driver must prove, under the watchful eye of Jo Bauer, that he can get out of the car in under five seconds.
In the morning Mercedes seemed to have sent the world’s seemingly most useless spy to check out the Ferrari with what looked like a heat imaging camera. Since they have pulled the same stunt on Merc last year (in an equally inept fashion) the Ferraristi easily spotted the subversive action and called the security.
It later turned out that it was just a normal camera with an over-sized flash and the amateur spy was (and presumably still is) an official Mercedes photographer. But the little anecdote neatly demonstrates the general paranoia in the paddock.
Here’s a look at the morning’s leaderboard as we prepare to go green.
|4.||Kvyat||Red Bull Racing||RB11||1:26.589||+1.850||34|
And we’re off!
The Red Bull pit board showed “L65” just before the restart. It looks like another attempt at a race simulation for the Austrians.
Word in the German media is that Renault’s attempts to return as a full-fledged works team are far from over. According to AMuS, Toro Rosso is the favoured candidate for purchase.
It looks as the rain was rather short lived. Hamilton is on the track on mediums and is running 1:30s already. So far he is alone on the track.
Weather Check: Same old – heavy clouds, 10°C air, 13°C track
There is very little action in the opening minutes as the track has not yet completely dried off again.
Which gives us time to present another piece of news that came up during the lunch break. Williams has announced that they do not plan to introduce any new parts today or tomorrow, but a larger update will be evaluated in the third test, including revised floor and rear wing.
Red Bull seems to be in no hurry. Not even the pit wall boffins have returned yet. Considering that some light drizzle has returned, it doesn’t come as a surprise.
After an installation lap of epic 3 minutes, Kvyat ends up being pushed the last 50 or so meters. Seems like the Red Bull has another problem.
It’s been a bit of a yawn so far. Ericsson did a single installation lap and Kvyat changes from Intermediates to the soft compounds as first glimpses of the sun appear. Other than that nothing happens.
A few more pilots start venturing out as Kvyat starts his race simulation. The times are rather mediocre though 1:30 and north of that.
Kvyat pits for the first time after 9 laps, just like Ricciardo yesterday. He switches from soft to medium. Looks like the Circuit de Catalunya has lost none of its appetite for rubber.
Having switched to softs, Maldonado improves to third position after 48 laps.
Hamilton goes out for an installation lap. That’s definitely not the same monkey seat they’ve been running in the morning.
Valteri Bottas joins the fun and he picks up where Massa left – practicing pitstops.
Maldonado comes very close to Verstappens time, less than two tenths of a second slower on soft tyres. Verstappen ran his him on super softs.
Kvyat comes in, with half of his race sim done :
1:30.9 – 1:30.7 – 1:31.2 – 1:31.8 – 1:31.6 – 1.32.1 – 1:32.4 – 1:32.4 – Inlap (soft -> medium) – outlap – 1:29.7 – 1:29.8 – 1:29.7 – 1:29.8 – 1:30.2 – 1:30.0 – 1:30.2 – 1:30.4 – 1:30.9 – 1:30.9 – 1:30.8 – 1:31.3 – 1:31.0 – 1:31.4 – 1:31.3 – 1:31.4 – 1:31.8 – 1:32.2 – 1:31.9 – 1:33.1 (traffic) – 1:32.4 – Inlap
The reverend has switched to super softs and takes the top spot with a 1:24.348. We’re now in the region of yesterday’s times, but on softer compounds.
Despite his oops moments right off the bat, Vettel is now the second busiest man with 79 laps completed to Verstappen’s 90.
Wehrlein meanwhile impersonates a chameleon and has pretty much faded into the background since this mornings running.
The Williams boys must be absolutely knackered by now. Bottas has done 14 laps so far without ever crossing the start-finish line. After each lap he dives back in for yet another practice pit stop.
McLaren are nowhere to be seen. At 12 laps so far and only two hours remaining this looks like yet another debacle. Let’s hope they get at least some laps done before the checkered flag.
As the conditions improve slightly Vettel and Hamilton go back out at all haste.
meanwhile on twitter…
Lewis Hamilton has posted a slight improvement while being on a long-run, while Bottas, believe it or not, comes in for the 20th service!
Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen close in on the 100 lap mark with 90 laps for the German and 97 laps for the Dutchman.
Just shy of taking over the spot of longest distance, Vettel is called in and his “rival” Verstappen goes out and the Dutchman is the first to pass the 100 lap mark.
With eleven laps to go in is race sim Kvyat comes in for used softs. His simulation has been identical to that of Ricciardo yesterday.
If any of the Williams drivers is spotted with a lollypop-shaped imprint on his face later tonight, nobody will be surprised. The Finn just came in for the 25th time. Meanwhile the Red Bull youngsters Kvyat and Verstappen as well as Vettel have run more laps than Bottas and Massa combined. Williams have officially wasted a perfectly usable day.
Keep still my beating heart! There’s a McLaren on the track. Jenson manages 3 laps without anything blowing up in his face. Much rejoicing ensues.
No remarkable times for a long time as pretty much everyone is on long runs. Meanwhile the second Red Bull team – the mothership – has cracked the three digit lap numbers, too. Who woulda thunk a year ago that with less than 80 minutes to go the two cars with the most laps would be Renault powered.
Kvyat has finished his race sim, but had to come in for an unscheduled stop 2 laps from home. The Russian from Ufa has now finished 102 laps. We have it on good word that no front wings have been harmed in the process.
Here’s the complete race sim for the man from Mother Russia
1:30.9 – 1:30.7 – 1:31.2 – 1:31.8 – 1:31.6 – 1.32.1 – 1:32.4 – 1:32.4 – Inlap (soft -> medium) – outlap – 1:29.7 – 1:29.8 – 1:29.7 – 1:29.8 – 1:30.2 – 1:30.0 – 1:30.2 – 1:30.4 – 1:30.9 – 1:30.9 – 1:30.8 – 1:31.3 – 1:31.0 – 1:31.4 – 1:31.3 – 1:31.4 – 1:31.8 – 1:32.2 – 1:31.9 – 1:33.1 (traffic) – 1:32.4 – Inlap – Outlap – 1:29.5 – 1:29.2 – 1:30.0 (Verkehr) – 1:29.4 – 1:29.4 – 1:29.7 – 1:30.0 – 1:29.9 – 1:29.4 – 1:29.3 – 1:29.5 – 1:29.6 – 1:29.6 – 1:30.3 – 1:30.4 – 1:30.6 – 1:30.7 – 1:30.8 – 1:30.9 – Inlap (Medium -> Soft) – Outlap – 1:28.0 – 1:27.5 – 1:27.8 – 1:28.7 – 1:28.7 – 1:29.0 – 1:29.2 – 1:29.6 – Inlap (Soft -> Soft) – Outlap – Inlap
Somebody in the Honda bunker will have to hack off a finger to apologize tonight. The problem – I kid thee not – is a faulty seal on the MGU-K and before you ask, yes, it’s the ‘bugfix’ of the faulty seal from two days ago. A third attempt to tackle to problem is expected to arrive tonight. For the remaining 60-something minutes the Honda’s MGU-K will be turned down to a minimum. Well, still 9 fingers remaining – no pressure at all…
Vettel meanwhile is the third man to crack the 100. But just as he came in when he matched Verstappens lap count, he comes in just as he exactly matches Kvyat. Both have now 102 laps, Kiddo is far ahead at 125.
News from Americaland comes in that president Obama was quick to assure his nation that Honda is not responsible for the Navy Seals.
Valteri Bottas has just finished his 40th lap and is yet to cross the finish line for the first time. I wonder what the Williams mechanics are being punished for.
Things have gone quiet a bit as Maldonado crosses the 100 lap mark. Lewis is getting there too. He’s currently on his 94th lap.
Ericsson drops Vettel to 5th by taking the 4th spot. However the German has only run medium and intermediate tyres so far, as has Hamilton in 3rd. All others have run softs or super softs to post their best times.
Button is back in with a hopeless tally of 21 laps. Both Bottas and Ericsson, who have only started at lunch time have at least twice as much and Bottas has done a hundred eleventy pitstops in between. With no second team, this is another utterly wasted day for the Japanese manufacturer.
Meanwhile Lewis comes in just shy of the 100 laps mark. Forty minutes to go till the table cloth and things have gone quite.
AMuS’ Michael Schmidt complains that his Finnish colleagues start to take the mickey out of Vettel for his rather catholic best lap in comparison to Kimi’s efforts of yesterday. In an uncharacteristic move the journo defends the German, despite being known as everything but a Vettel fan. The two programs of the Ferrari drivers are not really comparable and Vettel has yet to run anything but the mediums, at least in the dry.
With 30 minutes to go till the portly Lady starts screeching the teams and drivers seem to have run out of steam a bit. Is Wehrlein still at the track? Not even Copperfield could make people that invisible.
Michael Schmidt meanwhile offers his Finnish colleagues a determined ollen hullu saksalainen, wondering if he hasn’t gone overboard with the swearing…
Verstappen’s STR10 has packed in on the straight just as Jenson Button’s McLaren tries hard to crawl out of the pitlane without being overtaken by wildlife.
The track will reopen for about 10 minutes. It will be interesting to see if anyone can be bothered to go out. Track conditions have returned to almost exactly the unfavourable values of nine hours ago, just with a bit more drizzle. It’s doubtful that the leaderboard will change in anything but the laps column.
A few drivers go out and the two most interesting questions are:
Will Jenson crack the “magic 25 mark”? and will Bottas be allowed to run at least one flying lap?
The latter question can be answered with an emphatic yes and Jense ends up bog last, one lap shy of the magic 25.
Lewis seems to want to make the 100 lap mark for statistical reasons. He certainly doesn’t go for a lap time as he’s on mediums.
And there it is – three digits for the champ.
Either Ferrari have a technical problem or just couldn’t be bothered. Vettel has been stationary for pretty much the entire last hour.
Last man on the track is Maldonado
There’s the table cloth!!
It’s done. A day, which was dominanted by longruns. Let’s have a look at the protagonists:
These two were the only ones who went for fast laps and were the first to run the super soft tyres. That they barely managed to reach yesterday’s times shows how much slower the track was today.
These two were the ones that didn’t go for lap time. Neither of them has run anything softer than the medium. Longruns were obviously the flavour of the day. Vettel’s start with his run straight into the gravel trap was a pretty daft move though. In the end it didn’t cost too much.
I hope Force India have found him by now. It’d be awkward having to explain to Mercedes that they have somehow lost their test driver. How one can drive 81 laps and be completely invisible is a bit of a mystery.
The word clusterf*** springs to mind…
And that concludes a long day in the office for the TJ13 crew. With a look at the final leaderboard we bid thee farewell until we be seeing you again in the morrow.
|6.||Kvyat||Red Bull Racing||RB11||1:26.589||+2.241||112|