After the Tuesday morning deluge, which truncated programmes, it was a busy day of running at the Red Bull Ring. Max Verstappen’s 97 lap total from yesterday looked meager compared to the mileage managed today, with eight of the nine teams exceeding the century mark. One of which was Mercedes, who, with Nico Rosberg at the wheel, managed to once again end the day fastest, with Esteban Gutierrez guiding Ferrari into its now customary position of best-of-the-rest.
The Austrian Grand Prix winner managed a total of 110 laps en route to top spot, with Mercedes completing aero evaluation work this morning. As noted yesterday, Rosberg’s running in this test has come as a result of Hamilton’s withdrawal for this week’s testing duties.
Mercedes’ mileage may have been impressive, but it was comfortably eclipsed by Toro Rosso, who once again appeared on track more than anyone else today, adding 158 laps to yesterday’s 97. DTM reigning champion Marco Wittmann was behind the wheel of the STR10, in what was his first experience of F1. “This has been an amazing experience for me,” he noted. “I was surprised at the power of the car; if I compare it to DTM, it’s got quite a lot more power.” Renault will be similarly buoyed by Toro Rosso’s productivity this week.
Ultimately, it has been a valuable and promising test for both of the sport’s limping engine manufacturers, with Honda once again running effectively today as Fernando Alonso recorded 104 laps. To improve the outlook even further for McLaren Honda fans, Alonso’s best time today of a 1:10.718 was competitive, thus highlighting that the powertrain did face a rather stern test during the session.
Elsewhere, Williams took up their usual spot at the foot of the mileage charts, running what seemed to be a typically condensed programme compared to the opposition. Valtteri Bottas’ 79 laps did include headline pace early on, which saw him spend a prolonged stint at the top of the timesheet this morning. Crucially, the team ran without the intriguing winglets which were debuted yesterday – perhaps in light of their questionable legality.