After a week of break for all teams, the circus returns back to Barcelona for a second and final testing session before the season opener at Melbourne. This is the time you would ideally see teams out there every minute of the day trying to gain as much data as possible from the track programmes. This also is another opportunity for engineers and fans to try to read in between the lines to establish a more concrete pecking order, but you and I would be slightly insane to think the top teams wouldn’t sandbag this session, leaving everybody in a bit of a quandary.
Here is the summary of Day 1 of the second test in Barcelona.
1. Felipe Massa set the pace on the morning of the first session with a hot lap on the super-soft tires which put him within 0.020 of the fastest time set in 2017 so far. The Brazilian also managed to test 67 laps, the second most of the morning session.
2. Daniel Ricciardo who clinched 2nd on the time sheets posted a late time on the Ultra-Soft tires after a little trouble getting them to work on his first outing.
3. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel stuck to the yellow and white walled Pirelli’s for the morning. There were no attempts made by either team to dethrone the chart leaders, rather focused on long runs primarily.
4. After sitting out of the last day of the previous test, Daniil Kvyat in the Toro Rosso managed to put in a good number of laps without any major difficulties with the STR12
5. Although McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne appeared to have a flawless day with 30+ laps under their belt, it was only towards the end of the session that trouble hit. Another engine issue required the team to change a power unit, limiting Vandoorne to 34 laps in the morning.
6. Jolyon Palmer in the Renault suffered sensor issues on the RS17 which restricted him to post only 15 laps.
7. Returning back to the grid post a period of rest was Pascal Wehrlein who managed 9th on the opening morning of Test 2.
1. Felipe Massa’s lap time in the super softs kept him on top of the timing sheets for the rest of the day as most teams focused on long run programmes in the second session. This saw some impressive lap counts from Massa and Vettel who were tied to complete 168 laps at the end of the day.
2. Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari posted the quickest time in the second session by setting a 1.19.906 on a set of soft tires, only 0.006s adrift of Ricciardo who set his time on the ultra soft tires during the morning session.
3. Esteban Ocon in the Force India showed great consistency and reliability of the car with the 142 laps he managed till the end of day.
4. McLaren Honda, albeit using their 6th engine in the 5 days of testing, managed to tally 80 laps in two sessions combined. The Belgian was still 2.811s off pace from the leader despite being quicker towards the end. But the good news is, McLaren have made it clear that performance was not on top of their to-do list for the testing period.
More to follow on Day 2.
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