For the first time in 2014, Red Bull fans will go to bed contented tonight after the RB10 finally yielded some information for the team as Vettel clocked 58 laps. While they acknowledged that yesterday’s issue was unrelated to the Jerez problems, it was a highly debated suggestion. However, after today’s progress, it is clear that the team have made excellent progress on the road to reliability. With Toro Rosso also showing a marked improvement, Renault can surly see light at the end of the tunnel.
Red Bull seem to be on the right track now, as an excellent day today suggests that changes made since Jerez are set to get their pre-season back on track. It was all smiles for Sebastian Vettel today as his confidence in the team was proven correct with the RB10 clocking 58 trouble free laps. While it is a modest total, it is evidently an excellent step forward and with Toro Rosso also recording 58 laps, (despite stopping on track,) Renault appear to be closing the gap to their rival engine suppliers.
Vettel’s two days in the car are now complete and Daniel Ricciardo will take his seat tomorrow and Saturday. Mileage will be key and if Red Bull can assure their reliability to the extent of producing a race simulation run by the end of this test, it will be a remarkable achievement. Only Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas have managed a full race simulation run so far this pre-season, yet Red Bull’s experience could prove beneficial in recovering the lost time. Another trouble-free day tomorrow and we may be able to state that Red Bull are back to their reliable best. Laps, laps and more laps will be key between now and Melbourne.
“To be honest I think the last two days have been very useful, Vettel said. “We did a lot more laps today than yesterday and I hope that Daniel is able to do more laps tomorrow as there is a lot of stuff to do every day – programming and stuff so everything communicates to each other properly.”
Another resurgent team today were Williams, who recovered from the software glitches which ruined their day yesterday. After Massa managed just 5 laps on Wednesday, Williams mechanics had their efforts rewarded as Valtteri Bottas clocked a sublime total of 115 laps. The Mercedes powertrain, (at least on the Williams) proving to be reliable once again, as Bottas became only the second person to complete a race run. The team have been in the headlines recently, as rumours have surfaced in regards to the team’s new sponsors and the possibility of a vintage livery for the FW36 – It is important to remember that the current Williams is sponsor-less by design, as anticipation builds for the announcement which will come on the 6th March.
Meanwhile, McLaren also enjoyed another solid day in the MP4-29, with Kevin Magnussen behind the wheel. Like Vettel, the Dane made the most of his final day in the car this test, as he topped the timesheet. It is crucial to note that Magnussen’s fastest time was set on the super-soft tyres and while the team only managed 45 laps in total, the running of the softest compound tyre will be very valuable and McLaren are the first team to have the data. It appears to be very much a case of quality over quantity for McLaren today.
The Mercedes-powered Mercedes may have recorded 84 laps, yet their day was far from perfect, as Rosberg stopped twice in the W05. Until today, the only issue faced by Mercedes was the flawed front wing pillars which curtailed Hamilton’s progress on day one in Jerez. Faulty sensors were blamed for today’s issues, yet the team will undoubtedly be glad to find the issues now as oppose to in Melbourne – They also have sufficient mileage to be able to afford a few slip-ups.
Bahrain Test, Day Two timesheet:
1. Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, 1:34.910, 45 laps
2. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 1:36.445, 59 laps
3. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 1:36.516, 96 laps
4. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:36.965, 84 laps
5. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1:37.328, 115 laps
6. Kamui Kobayashi, Caterham, 1:39.855, 65 laps
7. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:40.340, 58 laps
8. Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, 1:40.609, 58 laps
9. Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, 1:40.717, 55 laps
10. Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 1:41.670, 18 laps
11. Max Chilton, Marussia, 1:42.511, 17 laps.