Bahrain: Day 3 Analysis
It was Lewis Hamilton who finished the day on top. His time of 1m34.263 was the fastest time of the test so far and was 0.7 seconds quicker than yesterdays pacesetter Magnussen and Jenson Button today. Whilst both the times set by McLaren were completed on the supersoft Pirelli tyre, Hamilton’s time today was done on the soft tyre. This would normally mean there is another few tenths still to come from just the tyre alone. The time will please Mercedes and worry their rivals somewhat. The W05 has looked imperious out on the circuit, out of all the cars it looks best suited to the track and creates little oversteer in comparison to its rivals. The day was not without fault however, the Mercedes team did come across a variety of issues throughout the day and decided to bring it to an early end in the afternoon. They managed 67 laps for the day.
Jenson Button finished up in second place in the McLaren MP4-29. The British driver had a slow start to the day but after the lunchtime period, the team focused on running what appeared to be a race simulation. By the end of the day, Button completed the most laps of anyone with 103 and didn’t suffer any mechanical issues in the desert heat. Button’s race simulation was interrupted by a red flag in the afternoon. However, the Woking team will most likely be looking towards completing another race run reliably for tomorrow with Jenson in the car. It was also announced in the afternoon that Jenson had also got engaged to long term girlfriend Jessica Michibata on February 14th.
Next up in third place was the Williams of Felipe Massa. The Brazilian took over from team mate Bottas in the afternoon. The Finn did not complete a lap time in the morning session, but did do 55 laps as he focused on pit stop practices for the Williams team. Massa managed to do a time of 1m37.066 in 60 laps after lunchtime and ran without fault. The biggest strength for Williams at the moment appears to be a very stable and reliable car. The car does look quick and with the help of the Mercedes power unit they are able to run around and complete laps without failure. Bottas completed the most laps at yesterdays test and today the two combined lap counts of the drivers would amount to 115, still the most out of the field. The FW36 looks a strong and reliable competitor.
Esteban Gutierrez completed 96 laps in the Sauber to finish the day in fourth place with a time of 1m37.180, almost three seconds down on Hamilton’s fastest. The Sauber ran without fault all day and the Mexican was able to complete a useful amount of laps and the most for a Ferrari-powered car. After struggling yesterday with electrical problems and on the first day with braking issues, it would appear Sauber are slowly getting to grips with the new car. Sutil takes over tomorrow, where the team will hope to run another reliable day.
Sergio Perez had a fairly uneventful day in the Force India, the driver did not go for the headline grabbing time that his team mate managed for the first two days of the test. The Mexican finished just a couple of tenths behind the Sauber of Gutierrez and completed 57 laps. He stays in the car for tomorrows test.
Kimi Raikkonen finished the day in sixth place having completed just 44 laps. It was not plain sailing for the Finn, his day was hampered by several telemetry issues in the F14T and he had to spend most of the day in the paddock, walking around in his jeans. Raikkonen is back in the car again tomorrow and the Ferrari team will be hoping for a much better run to understand the car and engine better in preparation for next weeks test.
Daniil Kvyat will be happy to finally get some productive running in the Toro Rosso. The Russian didn’t get many laps in the car in Jerez or on day 1 of the Bahrain test due to reliability problems. He managed 57 laps for the day as he gets to grips with the new machinery for 2014. He will be hoping for better reliability next week at the test. The running today would have been useful to the team however, as like most other Renault-powered outfits, they were forced to run with a significantly lower power map throughout the day.
Pastor Maldonado took over from Grosjean in the Lotus for the third day of the test. Unfortunately the teams wish to do more consistent laps with better reliability did not come to fruition. The car suffered various issues throughout the day, mainly stemming from the electrics and the telemetry sensors on the car. The E22 did manage to complete 26 laps and Maldonado’s quickest time of 1m39.642 put him in 8th and was at least quicker than the Red Bull on the same engine.
Daniel Ricciardo managed 28 laps in the Red Bull, who are still not able to get under the one minute 40 mark, the Australian set a time of 1m40.781. The team wrapped up their day early in the afternoon after they came across a mechanical issue they had not encountered before at set-up change around lunchtime. The team called an early end to their day, in order to get better running for the last day of this weeks test tomorrow. The Renault has been rumoured to be operating with a significant horsepower shortage, estimated to be between 100-150bhp down on the Ferrari’s and the Mercedes’. This is so the cars are able to actually get around the circuit for mileage. The main concern will be how long it will take Renault to ‘up-the-ante’ so their outfits can run competitively.
Max Chilton’s day was over in the first hour after he stopped out on track with an engine problem. The British driver had completed just four laps to finish bottom of the standings. The team needed to take the rear of the car off and decided that there would be no more running for the day. It will come as a blow, as the team desperately need to complete more competitive mileage, especially given that the Caterham’s are circulating the track more often, seemingly without the typical Renault problems. The Caterham pace has also not been too bad. Kobayashi finished high up in the times yesterday and team mate Ericsson took over today and finished the day in tenth, but with a creditable amount of laps, the Swede racked up a massive 98 laps. Ericsson has now completed enough laps to gain his FIA Superlicense.
Tomorrow is the last of the test for the week.
Tags: Bahrain, BOTTAS, Button, Caterham, Chilton, Ericsson, F1, Ferrari, Force India, Gutierrez, Hamilton, Kvyat, Lotus, Maldonado, Marussia, Massa, Mclaren, Mercedes, Perez, Raikkonen, Red Bull, Ricciardo, Sauber, Testing, Toro Rosso, Williams