Badger’s foray into the high-pressure world of testing continues! No rain, no problems for McLaren, and the better-late-than-never Force India launch; this is a summary of what happened on Day 6 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
The cool, misty air provided a very fresh platform for Friday’s action at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, but condensation was not the only thing in the air; so too was anticipation. With little running yesterday, McLaren were on everyone’s watch list and with a new car slated to be rolled out, so were Force India. However, neither were present immediately. Button evenutally emerged and set six laps before the first hour was done.
Max Verstappen’s early-morning efforts included a lot of start procedures, with burn-outs going down the pit lane, and practice starts at the end of it, to ensure the 17-year-old has no problems when he starts for real in Melbourne. The Toro Rosso kicked up a lot of sparks going down the main straight too, a sight that can only be described as awesome.
Button and McLaren then produced a much more promising stint of 22 laps; a huge achievement considering the bitter disappointment of yesterday’s short run. Button would go on to do 105 laps, but he also brought out one of the day’s three reg flags, when he stopped at Turn 8 with just half an hour to go.
The other red flag occurred at around 3.20, when Daniil Kvyat’s engine cut out and he parked at Turn 1. The Young Russian had at the time completed a good amount of laps, some with of them featuring the kiel probes that have become synonymous with aero testing. However, as he was half way down the start/finish straight, all noise suddenly stopped, and he coasted down to the first corner, where he stopped, and was recovered.
Force India’s day got underway just before lunch time, which was a surprise to many, as they had announced an afternoon launch. Things did not start brilliantly, when a piece of bodywork slashed Nico Hulkenberg’s rear-left tyre on the car’s very first lap. However, the damaged Medium Pirelli was removed, and he set out again, completing five laps in the half hour before lunch.
Felipe Nasr recorded two race distances in the Sauber, and the young Brazilian held the fastest time of the session at the lunch break. After lunch, it was all systems go for the top two. Williams hit first, with Bottas posting a time of 1.23.965 on the Soft tyres. It was a decent effort, but still half a second off Massa’s best time from Thursday.
Williams lived up to their promise that they would be pushing at the final test, but Mercedes’ counter-punch was a knockout. Rosberg fitted a set of soft tyres, and on his first flying lap, recorded a time of 1.22:792. It would appear that the car still has more pace up its sleeve.
As teams were winding down their programmes and preparing to pack away for the night, Pastor Maldonado stopped on the entry to the pit lane, with just 60 seconds to go, bringing out the red flag for the third and final time, right before the chequered flag.
Times from Day 2
1 ROSBERG, Mercedes, 1.22:792 (106 Laps)
2 BOTTAS, Williams, 1.23:965 (90 Laps)
3 NASR, Sauber, 1.24:071 (141 Laps)
4 VETTEL, Ferrari, 1.25:339 (143 Laps)
5 BUTTON, McLaren, 1.25:590 (101 Laps)
6 MALDONADO, Lotus 1.26:705 (140 Laps)
7 VERSTAPPEN, Toro Rosso, 1.26:766 (139 Laps)
8 KVYAT, Red Bull, 1.26:965 (84 Laps)
9 HULKENBERG, Force India, 1.28:412 (77 Laps)