Following a dismal Jerez test for the Renault powered teams, the French manufacturer hoped that their dreadful winter fortunes would take a turn for the better today. However, the hangover from the first test was evident, with problems still unsolved. After spending the first five hours in the garage, Red Bull failed to make up for lost time, with Sebastian Vettel stopping out on track after just 14 laps. With the Mercedes and Ferrari powered cars enjoying yet more success as pre-season nears its half-way mark, Red Bull have fallen further behind their competitors.
Delays, Delays, Delays…
Mercedes have once again proved to have a bullet-proof package today as a trouble free session allowed Lewis Hamilton to record 74 laps. After posting the third fastest time, Hamilton was a relaxed and contented figure in the paddock as the sun began to set in Bahrain. “It’s been really impressive just to see everything coming together and to be able to come to the test and get the mileage, especially when everyone’s shown just how difficult it is with these new regulations,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1.
Meanwhile, the Mercedes-powered Force India was taken to the top of the timesheet by Nico Hulkenberg, who recorded a 1:36.880 – a second clear of the competition, but more crucially, faster than last season’s fastest race lap time set by Sebastian Vettel. Amid fears that the FIA intention of making the cars slower would be extrapolated by teams taking time to understand the regulations, it seems that this is not the case. Hulkenberg’s impressive tally of 78 laps is another case to demonstrate the strength of the Mercedes powertrain.
Ferrari Clock Major Mileage
While Mercedes powered cars clocked 238 laps today, Ferrari powertrain’s were equally impressive. Despite his third major excursion in three days of testing this year, Adrain Sutil took today’s accolade of Mr.Mileage, with a grand total of 82 laps. Sutil seemingly needs the additional track time as he appears to be struggling to come to terms with the balance and handling of the new C33. In addition, Fernando Alonso enjoyed a productive, if not trouble free day in the F14 T, clocking 64 laps. The early issue, which saw concerning levels of smoke emanating from the back of the Ferrari was down to a fuel mix issue.
The main positive for Ferrari and Mercedes is that they have gained yet more ground on Red Bull. Mercedes now have a grand total of 383 laps this pre-season and they lead the way in the mileage statistics. Meanwhile, Red Bull are languishing with 35 laps completed. See the issue…