The second-to-last day of pre-season testing saw a lot of mileage for most of the teams, and heralded the return of Kevin Magnussen, in likely his last run in a McLaren in 2015. Here’s the summary of Day 3 of the final pre-season test in Barcelona.
With ground frost and a bite in the air, you could be forgiven for thinking that the penultimate test day this year was held in England. However the cloudless blue sky paved the way for the temperature to reach the highest of the week so far, with an ambient reading of around 20 degrees, and a peak asphalt temperature of 25.
As was evident with Friday’s test, a lot of new parts arrived in the morning and the first couple of hours saw teams trying them out. Highlights were new monkey seats for Lotus and for Toro Rosso, whose STR10 is now pretty much a B-Spec car compared to the one used in Jerez.
Notable was the return to a McLaren cockpit for Kevin Magnussen. The Dane in Spain completed a couple of installation laps in the first hour to familiarise himself with the car, which had, until Saturday, been driven only by Jenson Button at this test.
Nico Hulkenberg was Force India’s designated driver for the day, and before he is due to hand over to Sergio Perez tomorrow, he managed to post the most amount of laps on any single test day this year, with a huge total of 157.
Marcus Ericsson’s final pre-season outing for Sauber featured a few component tests early-on, but missing Turn 10 (below) can’t have provided much useful data. Still, the Swede posted a best time of 1.24:477.
He finished the table fourth overall, but brought out the red flag with just half an hour to go when he stopped at Turn 3. He was not the only man to stop proceedings; Carlos Sainz also conked out at that corner with barely ten minutes to go, and just after he set his best time of the day.
As has been the case for this week, Mercedes and Williams battled it out for the top spot, an honour that fell to reigning champions Hamilton and Mercedes. It highlights the fact that Mercedes are still leagues ahead, given that everyone from second to seventh ran the super soft tyre, whereas Mercedes set their best time on the soft compound.
Hamilton was due to set a super soft lap right at the end of the session, but was unable to due to the duo of red flags. Tomorrow is the last day of testing before the season gets underway in Melbourne, so there is still a chance that we will witness a Mercedes Super soft run from Nico Rosberg; a notion that no doubt terrifies the rest of the field.
Times from Day 3
1 HAMILTON, Mercedes, 1.23:072 (76 Laps)
2 MASSA, Williams, 1.23:262 (102 Laps)
3 RAIKKONEN, Ferrari, 1.23:276 (136 Laps)
4 SAINZ, Toro Rosso, 1.24:101 (132 Laps)
5 GROSJEAN, Lotus, 1.24:200 (116 Laps)
6 ERICSSON, Sauber, 1.24:477 (122 Laps)
7 HULKENBERG, Force India, 1.24.939 (157 Laps)
8 MAGNUSSEN, McLaren, 1.25.225 (39 Laps)
9 RICCIARDO, Red Bull, 1.25:742 (126 Laps)