Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg emerged fastest from the first day of the second F1 pre-season test after clocking a lap time of 1:36.880 around the Bahrain International Circuit. However, the focus remained on Red Bull Racing after another poor outing in 2014 for the Milton Keynes squad.
The Austrian team spent much of the morning in putting new parts to their aggressively designed RB10 and when it finally came out, its running was halted by a mechanical problem. The seriousness of the issue was made evident by the smoke coming of the car which subsequently had to be extinguished by a fire marshall. However, Vettel insisted that the problems Red Bull encountered today were unrelated to those in Jerez.
"It's not easy to find a quick fix, but I think we understand the problems. We sorted out the issues from Jerez and we were able to do some laps today. However, very often you fix one problem and another pops up, which is what happened. That's testing."
Continuing with Renault powered cars, Romain Grosjean could only manage eight laps in the first public appearance of E22 as software and battery issues limited their running. Toro Rosso had a poor day too with new recruit Daniil Kvyat having to stop on track due to an oil leak.
However, it wasn’t all bad for the French manufacturer if you go by Caterham’s mileage. Team’s new reserve Robin Frinks grossed a total of 68 laps with no major issues.
Meanwhile, Mercedes-powered again proved to be reliable and fast(if you go by the laptimes, which you shouldn’t not, given that teams aren’t focusing on race or qualifying runs, nor are they running at full capacity). Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, who topped the session, completed a total of 78 laps and was “able to do some set-up work & started to improve the drivability of the car.” Similarly, Kevin Magnussen in the McLaren racked in 81 laps to finish fourth fastest with a laptime of 1:38.295. Lewis Hamilton in the works Mercedes was able to finish 74 laps and a few tenths up from Magnussen’s lap time as third fastest.
Ferrari engines also showed increased reliability with Adrian Sutil in his new team clocking a total of 82 laps - more than any other driver today - to finish sixth fastest. Ferrari themselves had a decent outing with Fernando Alonso completing 64 laps with the best lap time of 1:37.879 However, a few people in red look worried when smoke emerged out of the F14 T as Alonso exited the garage earlier in the day.
Finally, Williams and Marussia were not able to set any laptimes today in Bahrain. Fuel system problem limited Williams running while an IT configuration problem was the reason behind the Banbury outfit’s poor start to Bahrain test.
1. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 1:36.880, 78 laps
2. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 1:37.879, 64 laps
3. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:37.908, 74 laps
4. Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, 1:38.295, 81 laps
5. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:40.224, 14 laps
6. Adrian Sutil, Sauber, 1:40.443, 82 laps
7. Robin Frijns, Caterham, 1:42.534, 68 laps
8. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 1:44.346, 5 laps
9. Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 1:44.832, 8 laps
10. Felipe Massa, Williams, No time, 5 laps
11. Jules Bianchi, Marussia, No time, 3 laps.