Mercedes have topped the time sheets on the first day of the second Pre-season tests at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
Day one of the second pre-season test saw Nico Rosberg show off the pace of the Mercedes, after spending the last test working on the reliability of the car and engine. The lap was ominously quick, with a 1.23.022 set on the soft tyres. The time was a mere 0.2 seconds off of the fastest time set by Sebastian Vettel on the ultrasoft tyres last week. A tyre which is suspected to be up to a second of a lap quicker than the soft tyre. The key thing to remember about lap times in testing is teams do not show their hand in testing, teams often sandbag and try to hide if they have a quick car. But the timings make for some worrying reading for Mercedes rivals. Lewis Hamilton was in the car for the afternoon, working on the long range pace of the Mercedes it seemed again, as he stuck exclusively to the medium tyres. He clocked up the sixth fastest time of the day.
Elsewhere Williams set out to impress it seemed, with Valtteri Bottas clocking the second fastest time of the day, a 1.23.229 on the ultrasoft tyre. Williams kept a relatively low profile at the first test, but today’s result as well as the fact they clocked the second fastest time on the soft tyre on any team during the two tests, shows that there may be something more to come from the Grove based outfit yet. Another team to have a positive day were McLaren. Fernando Alonso managed to set the third fastest time of the day, a 1.24.375, on soft tyres. The team also managed 92 laps. And were only delayed slightly by a telemetry issue in the morning. After losing almost two days of testing last week thanks to a hydraulic and coolant leak, a positive day was exactly what the team needed.
Sauber were another team who impressed with the debut of their 2016 car, the C35. Felipe Nasr was first out in the new car and managed 103 laps in it. The team had the ninth fastest time of the day, with a 1.25.493, set on the soft tyre.
However, there were some teams up and down the grid suffering from reliability issues. Although they clocked the fourth fastest time, a 1.24.836 on medium tyres, Ferrari’s running was cut short due to Kimi Raikkonen’s car being stuck in eighth gear. Elsewhere Red Bull suffered another setback in testing when Daniil Kvyat’s breaks caught fire on his way down the pit lane. Despite this the team managed to get the fifth fastest time of the day, a 1.25.049 on soft tyres, and did 69 laps. The biggest issue for today was for the new team Haas. Esteban Gutierrez only managed 23 laps before the team were forced to stop running due to a fuel pump problem. They scored the second slowest time of the day, with a 1.26.661 on the medium tyres.
Day One, Second Pre-season test fastest time+laps
1. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Soft Tyre, 1:23.022, 82 laps
2. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Ultrasoft Tyre, 1:23.229, 123 laps
3. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Soft Tyre, 1:24.735, 93 laps
4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Medium Tyre, 1:24.836, 72 laps
5. Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, Soft Tyre, 1:25.049, 69 laps
6. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Medium Tyre, 1:25.051, 90 laps
7. Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, Medium Tyre, 1:25.176, 144 laps
8. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Soft Tyre, 1:25.336, 121 laps
9. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, Soft Tyre, 1:25.493, 103 laps
10. Kevin Magnussen, Renault, Soft Tyre, 1:25.760, 119 laps
11. Esteban Gutierrez, Haas, Medium Tyre, 1:26.661, 23 laps
12. Rio Haryanto, Manor, Medium Tyre, 1:27.699, 45 laps
Feature Imagae credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas press release.