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Hello and welcome as we go into the second hour of today’s penultimate testing session.
We’ve seen a healthy amount of running this morning with all but a few teams going for fast lap times. Let’s see if that trend continues.
While the Hippo made the cold buffet look like an eatery in Ethiopia, we got confirmation that the horns on the Baby Bull that were spotted earlier today were indeed devices to measure the level of flex on the front wing.
The two former team mates Massa and Räikkönen are at it again, having chased each other’s times in the morning, but so far their times are nowhere near what we saw before lunch. That does not surprise however as Massa is on hard tyres and the Ferrari is wearing medium socks.
Stable 90 second laps for Massa on hard tyres. It’s nothing to scare Mercedes, but there is little doubt who has the best chance to grab some of the bread-crumbs the Germans will benevolently swipe off the table.
Lotus go out with a new rear wing. Let’s see if that makes a difference.
Massa’s times start to tumble. There’s either been a problem or that Williams is not too kind to its footwear. The hard compund shouldn’t degrade like that after a handfull of laps. Lotus have done more stable laps on the mediums. His team calls an end to his run that reads like this : 1:30.7, 1:30.8, 1:29.7, 1:29.6, 1:29.9, 1:30.1, 1:30.3, 1:30.2, 1:30.0, 1:30.3, 1:30.5, 1:30.5, 1:31.7, 1:31.4, 1:31.8, 1:31.4.
That reads pretty much like Seb’s runs yesterday, but the tyres went quite early considering they are the closest thing to tritanium that Pirelli has to offer.
Grosjean improves his time on soft tyres, but he is still bog last, woefully off the pace with a 1:27.736.
Some car had a little wee in the pit lane and track workers are laying down the white oil absorbing agent. Grosjean has improved by 0.200, but is still at the bottom of the pile.
Räikkönen and Ricciardo continue their longruns. The Finn has already put twenty laps into his medium tyres. Not too bad, considering how quickly the Williams nommed the hard compound: 1.30,6 – 1.30,6 – 1.30,2 – 1.30,3 – 1.30,4 – 1.30,7 – 1.31,7 – 1.30,7 – 1.30,9 – 1.31,0 – 1.31,2 – 1.31,1 – 1.31,4 – 1.31,4 – 1.32,0 – 1.31,8 – 1.31,8 – 1.32,3
Good news from Americaland. Matt is nearly done shovelling all the snow out of the drive way and will soon be able to take over. Prepare for a test on your rules knowledge. There’ll be a quiz at the end 😉
Force India seems to have lost some of the urge for mileage, they’ve now been overtaken by Ferrari, who complete their 79th lap.
Mercedes may have the scary lap times, but the Camo Bull at the hand of Danny RIC counters with mindboggling consistency on medium tyres. Fifteen laps, all within a second. That’s so much accuracy – Germans nurse a semi looking at it: 1.30,2 – 1.30,0 – 1.30,1 – 1.30,2 – 1.30,2 – 1.30,2 – 1.30,4 – 1.30,1 – 1.30,4 – 1.30,3 – 1.30,8 – 1.30,4 – 1.30,4 – 1.30,7 – 1.30,9
For Williams that means they’ll have some work to do when it comes to working them tyres.
The Australian comes back in and the car goes silent. No race simulation then. Meanwhile Kimi goes back out on hard tyres and starts with three laps below 90 seconds. Not bad, Mr. Iceman, not bad…
As we hear, it’s not only the hippo who thinks that half-arsed contraption of Force India is junk. Andy Green admitted that FI have no illusion about making it out of Q1 until the real VJM08 is ready, That’s why Vijay’s ragtag band concentrates purely on race speed. If that lap on supersofts is anything to go by, they better be or Manor might score a few more points before them. Being the cynic that I am, I’d say – instant karma for that attempted heist job on Marussia. It’s just a pity that Hülkenberg has to waste precious years in such a piece of junk.
Räikkönen is on another longrun: 1.29,7 – 1.29,9 – 1.29,3 – 1.30,4 – 1.30,4 – 1.29,4 – 1.30,2 – 1.30,8 – 1.30,7 -1.30,8 – 1.30,8 – 1.31,1 on hard tyres.
Just to confuse the Russians… Räikkönen switches to the experimental winter tyre. What’s that all about?
Little note on the side. We haven’t seen Lewis for a while. That’s quite a long time for ‘setup changes’. Anyway – word from the land of the free and the home of the brave is that Matt is ready to go. Over to you Mr. Trumpets…
Thanks much Mr. Hippo, indeed the coffee has been made and the snow shoveled over on this side of the pond.
Meanwhile the wheels on the Mercedes go absolutely nowhere as the car sits in the garage, as you most astutely note, and Hamilton’s mileage gap to Rosberg increases. It must be quite the “experiment” being cooked up by Mercedes head chef.
Sainz is on a race run and the new sparklers are indeed working as ordered by Mr E. Let’s hope he doesn’t get a look at the new NISMO LMP1 car that has hood mounted exhaust that shoots flames into the windshield. It might give him ideas.
Raikkonen has dropped to the 1:28’s on his run meanwhile as the laps pile up. Here is the latest count:
Raikkonen – 99
Hulkenberg – 99
Ricciardo – 88
Sainz – 78
Massa – 76
Ericsson – 68
Grosjean – 59
Magnussen – 39
Hamilton – 36
And immediately Twitter accuses me of being slow as I see Kimi has crossed the 100 lap barrier, as Grosjean is the only driver to actually, you know, go faster, though in that case it’s a bit relative as he’s managed to barely eclipse Sainz Jr.’s time by 0.2s. Here’s a look at the fast times:
1 Felipe Massa Williams 1m23.262s
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m23.276s +0.014
3 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1m24.477s +1.215
4 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m24.939s +1.677
5 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1m25.225s +1.963
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m25.471s +2.209
7 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m25.742s +2.480
8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m26.112s +2.850
9 Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso 1m26.330s +3.068
Massa emerges from the pits on the Medium tyre and Ricciardo calls it a halt after 17 laps on the same to bring us through the half hour.
Delightfully Ricciardo Sainz and Raikkonen manage to align themselves at the start finish at full speed to the delight of those watching.
Here are some stint times from Ricciardo’s latest run on Mediums: 1:29.9, 1:29.8, 1:29.9, 1:29.9, 1:30.0, 1:30.1, 1:30.2, 1:30.4, 1:30.5, 1:30.5
Hamilton is out of the garage, finally as Hulkenberg continues to plod about the circuit racking up the miles in the 1:31’s.
Massa’s long run starts out with a promising 1:27.9, 1:28.4, 1:28.2 as Ferrari continue to deliver laps for their new boss, sliding down into the backside of 1:29’s on the unmarked Pirelli.
Lewis first 2 laps 1:30.327 and then 1:26.686 as Kimi ends his race sim with 60 laps, starting in the 1:27’s and ending up at 1:33.986 on his third stint.
Pirelli confirm the obvious that most teams are on race sims so fast laps are unlikely till the end of the session.
And here we have some Kimi times:
1:27.2, 1:28.3, 1:28.1, 1:28.2, 1:28.1, 1:28.5, 1:28.2, 1:28.0, 1:28.3, 1:28.6, 1:28.4, 1:28.8, 1:29.9 (overtaking), 1:28.6, 1:28.5, 1:28.7, 1:28.6, 1:29.1, 1:29.7, 1:29.1, 1:29.2, 1:29.1, 1:29.4, 1:29.5.
For those of you keeping score at home, those were on the unmarked medium prototype from Pirelli, designed to work well at lower temperature.
Not working so well is Hamilton, who put in a few anemic 1:26’s and then rolled back into the garage to fiddle with the spices a bit.
Apparently my confirmation of the Pirelli spec has put me at odds with reality as no sooner do I update than Hamilton is back out of the garage, again on the Mediums.
FI take top trumps as well for lap count from Ferrari as the Hulk completes his 119th lap. Given the sad state of their team at the moment, it’s likely they will focus on running as few stops as possible and count on Perez’ tendency to random collisions and Hulkenberg’s ability to imitate a lorry as their only hope at grabbing a few crumbs from under the table.
Apparently it’s siesta time as the track is down to two lonely runners, Hamilton and Sainz Jr., hereafter abbreviated Jr. as my typing skills have gone a bit retrograde in the off season.
And just like that time to get back to work. Grosjean and Massa roll out, followed by Ericcson. Here’s a lap count update:
Hulkenberg – 121
Raikkonen – 118
Sainz – 100
Ricciardo – 94
Massa – 88
Grosjean – 81
Ericsson – 74
Hamilton – 46
Magnussen – 39
And that’s it for Lewis who rolls into the pit having crossed the 50 lap mark to bring his total up to 52 for the day. Nothing special in those lap times so it’s going to be a wait and see regarding the success of the changes.
In entirely predictable news, an oil leak has been found on the McHonda which brings an end to K-Mags day. Still better than the abysmal 7 laps on Thursday, one hopes that Honda execs are investing in Speech to Text software heavily as soon their dwindling number of digits will make typing memo’s blaming each other next to impossible.
Force India the team may have lost out on Marussia’s prize money (for the moment anyway) but apparently they’ve not lost their sense of humour:
Ericsson has kicked off his race sim and works with Hulkenberg, Grosjean and Junior circling the track with him.
And for those wondering about the precise times of Hamilton’s run here they are: 1:25.8, 1:26.0, 1:26.9, 1:26.7, 1:27.1, 1:27.3, 1:27.6 minutes.
On the Mediums, to satisfy my inner OCD child.
Taking advantage of the fact that I had to refill my coffee, Hamilton snuck out of the garage and turned a few more laps, bringing his fast time down to 1:24.181 on the Mediums and knocking Team Clean (Sauber) out of P3 on the time sheets.
Ricciardo runs long this time, as Horner confirms that it’s just down to the ignition for Melbourne and the Renault is otherwise mostly in Melbourne spec. Happy with the driveability, but admits they are still not playing the same game as Mercedes. Looking at Ricciardo’s times from this morning though and if they can ever get the lad a proper engine, it’s possible we’d see one of the great all time seasons ensue.
Here’s the latest from the tally sheet:
Hulkenberg – 134
Raikkonen – 121
Sainz – 121
Ricciardo – 103
Grosjean – 103
Massa – 95
Ericsson – 93
Hamilton – 56
Magnussen – 39
Ericsson back out as he heads toward a hundred but the tinkering continues in the Mercedes garage as after that brief run not much has happened for Lewis.
Hamilton has Raikkonen for company,though, as the Ferrari too has been parked for a bit, in contrast to the Williams which has been fed a steady diet of laps and has joined most of the other teams in the 100 lap club.
In fact, as the final hour approaches only Mercedes and McHonda look dubious to hit that mark. As I type that, however, Lewis rolls back out of the pits, but with the softs on. My maths tell me that it’s an unlikely proposition to get there before the checkers fall.
Red Bull also are running a new rear wing with a new design that has some horizontal notches that allow a slot to swing down according to descriptions. Pictures are a tad murky, naturally enough.
And while I had a go at that Lewis has transported himself to the top of the time sheets with a 1:23.022.
In the meanwhile Williams have finished early, and Felipe is off to enjoy some tapas before heading off to Melbourne with his winter testing complete and finished early.
Here’s a good pic of that new Red Bull rear wind slot tweeted by Scarbs:
It runs up by the L in Total so I shall name it the L-slot till someone who understands it calls it something proper.
Not quite sure what it does, but being Red Bull, odds are in your favor if you guess that it flexes. 😉
Lewis rejoins Ericsson, Hulkenberg, Junior and Ricciardo, still sporting the soft tyres. Hopefully we’ll see a few more glory runs for the Mercedes man to liven up the proceedings.
Colder track temps make it unlikely that Rosberg’s time from yesterday can be improved, so Nico’s fans will have the joy of taunting Lewis all the way to Melbourne.
On the other end of the time sheets, Junior’s hard work has moved Ricciardo to dead last in the hunt for glory, not much of a concern as RB will no doubt want to finish first, given last years debacle.
And we’re stopped!
Pulled off to the side of the track at T3, the lifeless corpse of the C34 lies draped motionless on the hills of Catalunya, as the recovery vehicle begins its grim work on the lightly smoldering remains.
No word on the cause just yet, but there it does not appear to be an accident.
And they are back up and running with just 25 minutes left.
Grosjean is first out on the soft tyres, sitting on 110 laps and a best time of 1:25.183 putting him P6 currently. He is trailed out by Junior and Hulkenberg. Lewis joins them as well to top up his mileage a bit before the end of his session.
Both Toro Rosso and Lotus are running for time now, with Grosjean up to 4th and Junior up to 6th.
Magnussen reports that the McHonda feels “really nice” which will no doubt be comforting when it breaks down before finishing a race distance. Today’s run was just 2/3’s of a GP.
Junior has turned it up a bit more in the meantime and goes P4 with 131 laps on board for the day, surpassing Grosjean.
Hamilton has rolled back into the pits with 76 laps on the day and as we wind down our coverage, this just in:
Just in case you thought I was exaggerating on the podcast. 😉
And we’re stopped!
Booo! Junior has broken his car and stopped on the inside of T3, bringing the proceedings to a halt.
No reports yet but there is not a lot of time left on today’s clock so that might just be it.
Eric “the Believable” Boullier is telling us that tomorrow will be the McHonda’s first race sim. F1 comedians salivate at the thought.
The Toro Rosso is finally loaded with 4 minutes left. Waiting to see if they open the track back up.
And they do indeed, with just a minute left.
There’s the table cloth!!
Miraculously both Ericsson and Hulkenberg made it out in the 57 seconds that were left. That brings and end to Day 3 of winter testing. We’ll see you here tomorrow for the final day of running before the season kicks off in Melbourne.
And we say thank you very much to the distant shores of Americaland 🙂
If you wonder why we have gone through four people already to do the commentry – it’s a damn sight harder than just parking your fat rear in a seat and get typing, so let me tell you that the positive feedback we’ve been getting has been greatly welcome.
With the final standings of today we bid thee farewell and see you bright eyed and bushy tailed on the morrow as we embark on the last day of pre-season testing…
|4.||Sainz jr||Toro Rosso||STR10||1:24.191||+1.169||132|
|8.||Magnussen||McLaren||MP4-30||1:25.225||+2.203||39||9.||Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing||RB11||1:25.742||+2.720||128|