Badger managed to snag an invite to the final Pre-Season test this year, and so for the duration, we’ll be bringing you daily updates! This is a summary of what happened on Day 5 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
An overcast Thursday in Northern Spain was the scene for F1’s ninth test day, and most drivers went out straight away to get some running in.
Light drizzle began to fall at around 11.30, and while the precipitation didn’t intensify, it didn’t stop either, so before long, the track was slippery, and Intermediates were necessary. They didn’t last long though, before long it was midday, and time for lunch.
Everyone set a time before the break, save for Force India, who decided not to run ahead of tomorrow’s VJM08 launch. Button didn’t do much better; his McLaren Honda produced seven laps, before a hydraulic leak ended his day’s running prematurely.
A long-forgotten, lonesome ‘Button’ pit board lay propped against the wall for many hours after the team had called it a day, and served as a rather sobering reminder that of McLaren’s re-marriage with Honda has not, thus far, gone to plan.
After lunch, Marcus Ericsson was the only driver on track for a while, with a few cameos from Kvyat and Felipe Massa. The latter then sought about unleashing Grove-based fury shortly after half 3, setting a time of 1:23:500, almost two seconds faster than last year’s pole time.
On a day where most drivers were on medium tyres, Felipe slipped on a set of Soft Pirellis, and it made all the difference, putting him easily ahead of Hamilton. The reigning champion had no chance to retaliate either, after an MGU-K failure restricted his Mercedes to the pits.
Ericsson’s Sauber was ever-present on the track in the afternoon, as he went for a race simulation on medium and hard tyres later on, notching over 100 laps in total.
The day saw two Red Flags, the first due to Daniil Kvyat stopping at the pit lane exit while attempting a race start. The Russian was wheeled back, and the temporary pause didn’t disrupt proceedings too greatly.
The second red flag lasted a little while longer, and came courtesy of home-grown talent Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard stopped his Toro Rosso at Turn 10, and had to be recovered with a flat bed truck.
As the day wound to a close, Lotus and Red Bull drilled race starts by doing burnouts through the pit lane, and starting from stand-still at the end. Other than that, and Ericsson improving his time by nearly half a second, the final hour was somewhat routine.
Results from Day 1
1 MASSA, Williams, 1.23:500 (103 Laps)
2 ERICSSON, Sauber, 1.24:276 (122 Laps)
3 HAMILTON, Mercedes, 1.24:861 (48 Laps)
4 KVYAT, Red Bull, 1.25:947 (75 Laps)
5 GROSJEAN, Lotus, 1.26:177 (75 Laps)
6 RAIKKONEN, Ferrari, 1.26:327 (80 Laps)
7 SAINZ, Toro Rosso, 1.26:962 (66 Laps)
8 BUTTON, McLaren, 1.31:479 (7 Laps)