Kimi fastest of all (thus far)
March 3, 2016 by Joe Saward
Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest time of the day in Barcelona, lapping the Circuit de Catalunya on ultrasoft tyres to set a time that was just faster than Sebastian Vettel’s fastest lap from last week’s first test, stopping the clocks at 1m22.765s. This was just 0.045s ahead of Vettel’s best, but the last day of the test tomorrow may see Mercedes deciding to finally show its hand on ultrasofts. Raikkonen did 136 laps, including two with a cockpit halo, bringing the Ferrari mileage for the three days to 1,038 and the total in all testing so far to just short of 2,000. This translates into 10 and a half Grand Prix distances.
Felipe Massa was second quickest today in his Williams-Mercedes, with a 1m23.193s lap, his best of the testing so far. This gave Williams a total of 1,009 miles and the full test total to 2,037 miles, around the same mileage as Ferrari, but without the same level of outright speed (at least, thus far).
Third fastest was Nico Hulkenberg in the Force India-Mercedes, with a 1m23.251s lap, slightly slower than his best run in the first test. It has been a good week for the team with 1,180 miles of running. The seven-day total is now up to 2,025 miles, on a par with the other frontrunners, bar Mercedes, of course.
When it comes to mileage and some decent pace as well, Scuderia Toro Rosso is looking strong with the STR-Ferrari. Max Verstappen set a best of 1m23.2382s, his fastest time yet in the winter tests. The team continued to complete a lot of laps, with a total of 1,356 miles this week, to add to its 1,295 during the last test, meaning a total for the seven days of 2,651 miles, which is a lot higher than everyone else – apart from Mercedes. This looks good.
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton both ran today for Mercedes, but one again they left their gloves on, continuing to add to the mileage, which has risen this week to 1,388 miles and for the seven testing days to 3,270 miles, 17 Grand Prix distances, and 1,200 more than its likely rivals.
It was a solid day for Sauber with Felipe Nasr taking Sauber’s testing total for the new car test to 790 miles. With last week’s total of 1,188, albeit with an older car, Sauber’s full testing total is now 1,978 miles, which is in the ballpark with the other main teams.
Fernando Alonso was next and the McLaren-Honda was reliable, the team getting to a three-day mileage total of 960 miles and the seven-day total to 1,685 miles. This is not up with the frontrunners, but is still nearly nine Grand Prix distances. The car has shown speed on occasion, particularly in the tight sections of the track, so the team could be a challenger at tracks like Monaco. If Honda brings some more power, the team will be worth watching.
The Manor-Mercedes was next up, but the team has a lot to do. With 172 laps in total over the three days. The team’s seven-day total is still only 1,214 miles, although Pascal Wehrlein’s lap times have not been bad.
Red Bull Racing had troubles today with Daniil Kvyat way down the order as a result of a short day working. The team has completed 940 miles thus far, which added to last week’s 1,025 gives a total of 1,965 miles, which is around the average.
Jolyon Palmer was next and happy to get a lot of laps. The Renault team has done 990 miles thus far this week and with last week’s 960 miles is in a solid situation, with a total of 1,950 miles.
The same cannot be said for Haas, which has had a very disappointing week with a total of only 102 laps thus far for the new team. Last week’s total was 800 miles, so the team has yet to get 1,000 miles. It is probably no great surprise for a completely new operation, but it does mean that the team will go into the season at a disadvantage.