Nico Hulkenberg has gone fastest on the third day of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
Day three of testing saw Nico Hulkenberg top the time sheets in his Force India, with a 1.23.110, set on the supersoft tyre. This is the second fastest time of the test so far, only 0.2 seconds off of Sebastian Vettel’s time on the ultrasoft tyre yesterday. Once again, it is best to remember you should not read into pre-season test times and teams tend to hide and sandbag how fast their car is. But this is a positive sign for the Force India team, who are looking to build on their successful 2015 season where they scored a podium, and finished fifth in constructors.
Elsewhere on the grid there were positive steps forward for Haas, as Romain Grosjean clocked the second fastest time, a 1.25.874, on the soft tyre. Grosjean also managed 88 laps in the Haas today, showing some impressive form from the new team. Meanwhile after being beset with the usual testing gremlins it appeared Toro Rosso also turned a corner today. With Carlos Sainz recording the most laps of the day, with 161 laps completed. He also scored the sixth fastest time on medium tyres today, a 1.26.239.
Renault were another team everyone was keeping an eye on. The teams return to the grid has been beset with problems, and the team are yet to have a trouble free day. Kevin Magnussen took to the car today and was quite competitive, completing 111 laps, and scoring the fourth fastest time of the day. However, his running was curtailed slightly when his car broke down on the start finish straight. Bringing out the red flag. He was not the only driver to suffer car issues today, as the McLaren of Jenson Button was forced to end the day early. Completing just 51 laps. The team have revealed it was in fact a hydraulic leak that forced them to cut their running.
World champions Mercedes split the days running between their drivers. With Nico Rosberg in the car in the morning, and Lewis Hamilton in the car in the afternoon. Between them the drivers managed to add another 181 laps to their total for testing, highlighting the reliability of the silver arrow.
Bringing up the timesheet was Rio Haryanto in the Manor. He managed 78 laps on his first outing with the team. And set his fastest lap, a 1.28.249, on the medium tyre. Though running didn’t go too smoothly for him, as he caused the red flag to come out after a spin in turn five.
Day Three Pre-season fastest times+laps
1. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Supersoft tyre, 1:23.110, 99 laps;
2. Romain Grosjean, Haas, Soft tyre, 1:25.874, 82 laps;
3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Medium tyre, 1:25.977, 77 laps.
4. Kevin Magnussen, Renault, Soft tyre, 1:26.014, 111 laps;
5. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Medium tyre, 1:26.084, 74 laps;
6. Carlos Sainz, Medium tyre, 1:26.239, 161 laps;
7. Felipe Nasr, Sauber,(2015 spec car) Medium tyre, 1:26.392, 115 laps;
8. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Medium tyre, 1:26.421, 88 laps;
9. Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, Medium tyre, 1:26.497, 74 laps;
10. Felipe Massa, Williams, Medium tyre, 1:26.712, 109 laps;
11. Jenson Button, McLaren, Medium tyre, 1:26.919, 51 laps;
12. Rio Haryanto, Manor, Medium tyre, 1:28.249, 78 laps;
The final day of the first pre-season test is tomorrow starting from 8AM GMT.
Feature Image Credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas press release