Five things we learnt on day four (1st test)

The final chequered flag has fallen on the first pre-season test, with Ferrari topping the timesheet for the third time this week. Kimi Raikkonen managed 80 laps in the SF16-H today, with a 1:23.477 recorded on a ultrasoft run. While the Finn’s benchmark was a full eight tenths clear of Daniil Kvyat’s time for Red Bull, it was half a second adrift of Sebastian Vettel’s equivalent run on Tuesday – which has remained the fastest time set during the entire test.

Here are five things we learnt on the final day of the opening pre-season test…

Magnussen pleased with Renault progress

The forecast was rather dire for Renault at the start of the week as Jolyon Palmer endured two days of disruption as the RS16 was dogged by unreliability. However, Kevin Magnussen’s 111 laps yesterday marked an excellent step forward and this progress has been cemented in today’s session, as the Dane managed 153 laps.

“Seeing the problems on the first two days it was concerning and I was worrying a bit about getting as many laps as I wanted – but I’ve certainly got that now,” Magnussen stated when speaking to Sky Sports F1. “It’s been a really good couple of days. It’s been perfect in terms of getting back into it.”

McLaren not out of the woods yet

Conversely to Renault, McLaren’s week started strong and has subsequently slipped back into a more concerning state. The Honda powertrain started the week reliably, yet a hydraulic leak which curtailed running yesterday provided an unwanted hangover today, which kept Fernando Alonso within the confines of the garage for the vast majority of the day.

Three laps and no time is certainly not the sign of progress that either McLaren or Alonso, amid sabbatical speculation, were hoping for. There is undoubtedly more work to do, and anyone that thought Yusuke Hasegawa had entered Honda’s hotseat as easy street approached, have been proved wrong.

Haas are ready to race

Haas have hit the ground running this week, in a manner which has surely exceeded even the most optimistic of US F1 fans. Esteban Gutierrez recorded another 89 laps today and while he may not have posted the headline time that Grosjean managed yesterday, the Mexican managed an even more impressive feat by completing a full race simulation run.

For a new team to have completed a race run at this stage of their development is hugely exciting. Haas have entered the sport with aspirations of being regular points scorers in year one and given that they have managed more mileage this week than McLaren, they stand a fighting chance.

“She’s an absolute beast”

It may not have been something we learnt today – more another day in which the W07’s standing as the most reliable machine on the grid was cemented. Yet again Mercedes did not feel the need to fit the ultrasoft tyre to the car and unleash it on the competition – that moment will surely come next week.

Celis Jr is ready to tackle FP1

Force India have given Alfonso Celis Jr two days in the car this week and with the youngster set for several FP1 appearances this season, gathering experience ahead of the F1 weekend is essential.

Today, he managed 75 laps and finished third on the timesheet, as it seemed that Force India were again stretching the package more than their rivals. Celis Jr’s achievements have been in stark contrast to Rio Haryanto, who after a slow start yesterday, endured another clumsy day. A spin into the gravel at turn four was an unwanted set-back and with just another two days in the car before Melbourne, Haryanto has to find confidence quickly.


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