Day Four Testing Update

Written by Grant Rivers (@SnowAndBeach)

As weather in Barcelona started to calm down, the track saw plenty of action both on the track & on the gravel.

Aston Martin Red Bull

Today it was Max Verstappen in the RB14 & completed 35 laps. He completed a fastest lap of 1:22.058 of the Circuit de Catalunya.

In the morning the team opted for limited running on the damp and cold circuit, with Max putting in 18 laps and focusing on short runs and aero testing. With the track drying in the afternoon more aero work was conducted before a mechanical issue affected running. A late spin for Max then saw his day end prematurely.

Red Bull’s day wasn’t without its difficulties though as Max explained:

“We had a couple of little hiccups today and then in the afternoon I had a little moment where I went into the gravel, tried to the reverse but it got stuck. However, I’m quite happy with the car so far, and maybe the second week will show a bit more how we compare against our rivals. I certainly hope it’s a bit sunnier next week.”

Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin added it was “Not an ideal end to what has been a pretty tricky week.

Renault

Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg set the pace on a rain-affected final morning of the first week of Formula 1 pre-season testing at Barcelona.

After Wednesday’s running was written off by snow and persistent rain, conditions on Thursday morning were initially little better. But the higher temperatures at least meant some teams attempted meaningful runs on full wet tyres.

Hulkenberg finished with a fastest lap of 1:22.057 after 49 laps.

Sainz completed a fastest lap of 1:22.057 & finished 60 laps in total.

Scuderia Ferrari

The lap was three tenths quicker than Sebastian Vettel’s previous benchmark from Day Two, set on softs, and fractionally faster than Hamilton himself went in testing at Barcelona last year.

Vettel, who topped 100 laps in the Ferrari SF71-H, was third, 0.9s back on his great rival Lewis Hamilton.

Sauber Alfa Romeo

The two Saubers were the last of the representative runners, with Charles Leclerc heading Marcus Ericsson by a second thanks to the afternoon’s faster track, although with 59 laps to Ericsson’s 79.

McLaren

A very positive and productive day of running at the fourth and final day of the first 2018 pre-season test. Track conditions started very wet from heavy rain overnight, which made early-morning running tricky and meant a slower-than-usual start to the programme. As the track dried out Stoffel was able to quickly and efficiently run through a comprehensive test plan, which included key correlation, component and aero tests that necessitated all-important mileage.

As the track was kept green throughout the traditional lunch break, Stoffel continued consistent running into the mid-afternoon, when the team handed the reins over to Fernando at around 16:00hrs, giving him the opportunity to make up for some of the lost track time yesterday due to bad weather.

Stoffel completed a solid 110 laps and posted the second-fastest time of the day, while Fernando did 51 and finished fifth on the timesheets, bringing McLaren’s total for the final day of test one to 161 laps.

Haas

Kevin Magnussen was back at the wheel of the Haas VF-18, looking to improve upon the 36 laps he logged on Tuesday (167.580 kilometers/104.129 miles).

Teammate Romain Grosjean opened the first week of testing with 55 laps on Monday (256.025 kilometers/159.086 miles). Grosjean was unable to turn any more laps this week because of Wednesday’s wash out.

Magnussen wasted no time getting onto the track when it opened at 9 a.m. local time, making three reconnaissance laps on full wets. He transitioned to intermediates at approximately 11:30 a.m., with two eight-lap runs.

Haas F1 Team worked through lunch and shortly after 1 p.m., the track was dry enough for slicks. Magnussen donned a used set of Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tires just before 1:30 p.m. and tip-toed around the track, as it remained slippery. A more involved, six-lap run that began shortly after 1:40 p.m. yielded a quick time of 1:24.286 on his 30th lap.

It was a sign of things to come, as in each subsequent stint, Magnussen bettered his lap time, first with a 1:22.768 on his 35th lap and then with a 1:21.764 on his next lap followed by a 1:21.509 on his 38th lap. His 39th lap brought him down to 1:21.477 before an even quicker tour on his next go-round generated a 1:21.135.

Magnussen made the switch to Red supersofts at approximately 3 p.m. He performed back-to-back seven-lap stints before a nine-lap run, with a 1:21.509 on his 56th lap during the second stint being the best. But it was during the last 90 minutes of the session where Magnussen pushed ever harder, recording a 1:20.640 on his 73rd lap and a 1:20.317 on his 81st lap.

A three-lap stint on Yellow softs followed by a 10-lap drive on supersofts ended the day.

When it was all done, Magnussen completed 96 laps to log 446.880 kilometers (277.678 miles). His quick time of 1:20.317 put him fourth overall among the 15 drivers who took to the track.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton set the day’s quickest time (1:19.333) and Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly ran the most laps (147).

Haas F1 Team’s total for the first week of testing was 187 laps and 870.485 kilometers (540.893 miles), with Magnussen accounting for 132 laps and 614.46 kilometers (381.807 miles).

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Piere Gasly completed 147 laps today bringing the total to 229. He finished the day with a best time of 1:22.134.

“I think the reliability of the engine is great -147 laps is more than double a race distance and we didn’t have any issues”, he explained.

In addition, Gasly outlined what’s to come:

“We should have a couple of new developments to test for next week, so it’s a process where we will try to improve the car day by day, to get ready as much as possible for the first race.”

Technical Director James Key explained:

“With 147 laps today I think that’s a record for the power unit era for Honda – we have been testing for effectively only three days so this is an outstanding achievement.”

With the the track drying out after the rain/snow overnight, it gave the team the chance to gather valuable data for varying race conditions.

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton topped the final day of the opening 2018 Formula 1 pre-season test at Barcelona for Mercedes. The world champion used medium tyres to demote McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne from the top of the order, the Belgian having set the pace with a sequence of runs on hypersofts shortly after the track dried around lunchtime.

Hamilton had briefly moved ahead of Vandoorne earlier in the afternoon, but he had that lap taken away just before 4pm for missing the final chicane and finally took over at the head of the order 45 minutes later.

Vandoorne’s time on the softest tyre, set following a flurry of activity as everybody switched to slicks, was good enough to hold on for second on the day, half a second down on Hamilton.

Hamilton completed 69 laps with a fastest lap of 1:19.333.

Sahara Force India

Sahara Force India wrapped up its first week of testing in Barcelona as Sergio Perez drove the VJM11 for the first time. Perez completed 65 laps & finished the day P5 of 15 cars on track. His bet time achieved was 1:21.973.

Perez was pleased to get back to the track & said:

“After three months away from the track, it’s always a special moment when you feel the power of an F1 car again. It really makes you smile.”

However the weather has brought its challenges, “It’s limited our mileage and made things a bit more difficult.” Said Sergio.

Tom McCullough explained their day despite the adverse weather:

“The damp track this morning forced us to delay most of our running until the track conditions started to improve. When the circuit was suitable for dry tyres, we fitted a rake to the car and resumed the aero programme, adding to the data we gathered on Tuesday.”

Williams Martini Racing

Chief Technical Officer (Paddy Lowe) explained “It’s been a very difficult week weather-wise but actually, we’re very happy to have made the most of the conditions we had”

Sirotkin completed 47 laps with a fast lap of 1:31.979 whereas Stroll went quicker with a fastest lap 1:21.141 & completing 54 laps in total.

Paddy went on to explain, “A great job has been done by the team considering this car had not even fired up a week ago and a great job by Lance, Sergey and Robert to manage the car in such difficult conditions without causing any damage. We look forward to coming back next week for hopefully some warmer weather when we gear up for some more representative performance testing.”

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