Pastor Maldonado set the fastest time of the final day of testing in Barcelona, the Lotus driver posting a time of 1:24.871 on the supersoft tyre to put him just under a second ahead of Mercedes Nico Rosberg, who set his time on medium tyres. In the morning the German also trialled Mercedes experimental new exhaust, designed to increase noise.
Following a good day for Lotus yesterday, when test driver Charles Pic completed 70 laps and claimed the second fastest time of the opening day, Maldonado enjoyed an even more solid outing today, logging 102 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya.
The Venezuelan finished 0.934s ahead of Rosberg, who also broke the century mark with 102 laps. The German began his day’s work testing Mercedes much anticipated ‘megaphone’ exhaust. The results of the test will be analysed by the FIA and discussed with the sport’s teams before a decision is made on whether to adopt the solution.
Rosberg was followed on the timesheet by Kimi Raikkonen, who enjoyed a much better day at the wheel of the F14 T than yesterday. The Finn completed just 20 laps yesterday due to power unit issues and a late off but today he completed 93 laps for a best time of 1:26.480, almost half a second clear of Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez.
Gutierrez was involved in a minor incident in the morning session when a fire broke out at the back of his car in the pit lane. It was quickly extinguished by his mechanics and the Mexican was soon back on his way for an eventual tally of 84 laps.
Elsewhere, Williams Development Driver and FIA Women in Motorsport Ambassador Susie Wolff took over from Felipe Massa at the wheel of the Williams FW36, for a full day of testing, her first since driving the team’s 2013 car at last year’s Young Driver Test at Silverstone. This latest test is an advance of her scheduled appearance in Friday practice at this year’s British and German Grands Prix.
After an early spin Wolff soon got into her stride and completed 27 laps in the morning. She improved again in the afternoon, eventually claiming the day’s fifth-fastest time with a lap of 1:27.280, set on the soft tyre. In total she completed 55 laps.
Behind her Jules Bianchi finished sixth but was confined to the garage for most of the afternoon with a technical problem. The team did manage, however, to get him up and running again in the final 10 minutes of the session.
Seventh place went to Sebastian Vettel, whose running was largely restricted to the afternoon session. A gearbox problem cut short Red Bull Racing’s running yesterday and overnight repairs dragged on into this morning. Vettel eventually emerged some three hours into the session, putting in a couple of runs before lunch. The afternoon was more productive for the champion and he got through 72 laps.
“The problems of yesterday made a bit late out this morning but the afternoon was productive and we did a lot of laps, which considering the time we had it was good,” said Vettel. “We used the tyres used last weekend as we want to try to understand the car more and in terms of that I think we have learned a lot, so I would say it was a useful, if not perfect, day.”
Behind the champion came Force India tester Daniel Juncadella and, getting a first F1 outing, McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne. Both were conducting tyre testing for Pirelli and afterwards Vandoorne said he was pleased with his first day in F1.
“This has been a fantastic day for me: my first experience in a Formula One car, and a really great opportunity to get plenty of laps under my belt,” he said after racking up the day’s largest total – 136 laps. “I want to say a big thank-you to the team – everyone has been incredibly helpful and positive. It’s also great to have been able to contribute to the test programme: 136 laps today was a fantastic achievement, and it’s great that it’s earned me my Formula 1 Superlicence.”
Daniil Kvyat was ninth for Toro Rosso. The Russian brought out the red flags twice in the morning and then spent most of the afternoon in the garage.
Caterham, meanwhile, did not run at all, with the team announcing in the morning that damage caused by Kamui Kobayashi’s accident yesterday was severe enough to prevent the team taking part. (FIA)