While Barcelona decided to start the day on a bright note with seemingly warmer temperatures, F1 scheduled the day for wet weather testing on artificially soaked track to try the wet weather tires manufactured by Pirelli for 2017. The day was planned in such a way that once watered in the morning, the track would gradually dry out by mid day to allow teams to run on both slicks and treaded tires. This will be repeated in the afternoon session to give teams a chance to try different programmes in wet conditions.
Previously, the FIA had alotted a special wet weather testing session during the pre-season tests. However, this has been scrapped out this season and replaced with this particular format. While tires still remain a big question mark as we come closer to kicking off the official season, drivers have said that they are better in terms of degradation. Lewis Hamilton also went onto say that the tires are rock solid. One would assume that this will mean fewer number of stops during the race. This, however, is just the first initial inference one can make. Further testing will reveal more perhaps!
Here are the updates from Day 04 of the F1 2017 testing.
1. Onto testing the tires straightaway were Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen. The pair ran the blue walled wet tires initially before moving on to the intermediates. Swapping places for P1 as the track gradually dried, Verstappen and Raikkonen lapped in the 1m 40s range in wet conditions and as the track dried, Raikkonen on the soft tires set the pace.
2. Williams sat out of Thursday’s crucial testing following Lance Stroll’s crash on Wednesday. They were not the only team that did the same, joining them was Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat who had to merely watch the action from his garage as the mechanics tried to correct the Renault power unit under.
3. Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes too was a victim of an electrical fault on his W08. This is the first breakdown for Mercedes during this test which has forced a driver to sit out.
4. McLaren Honda with Stoffel Vandoorne and Haas F1 with Romain Grosjean both had a flawless morning, completing 35 and 49 laps respectively which sorted them into P3 and P2.
1. Kimi Raikkonen went onto finishing Ferrari’s testing days on a high by hitting the 200+ lap mark with no issues on the car. He also topped the timing charts on day 4 with a competitive lap time set on a set of soft tires, outpacing Max Verstappen in the RB13.
2. As laptimes tumbled at the end of the day, Romain Grosjean in Haas and Jolyon Palmer driving the Renault completed the laps just in time to move to P4 and P3 respectively.
3. Valtteri Bottas, who took over for Lewis Hamilton, completed 68 laps at the end of the day but managed only P8. Clearly from data, Mercedes’ goal has been mileage from day 1 not lap time. The team also held back on testing in the last hour after the team found something they “didn’t like” in their data. Could we sniff a potential reliability issue? Even time can’t tell!
4. A dismal day overall for Toro Rosso as the car sat out in the morning stating they would run in the afternoon with Carlos Sainz, but the STR12 never made it out of the garage, making it an unproductive day for the sister RedBull team.
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