It has been all about Ferrari in the first pre-season test of the 2015 Formula 1 season. Kimi Raikkonen topped on the final day of the Jerez test, completing a clean sweep of Ferrari powered car around the Spanish circuit. To go with the fastest time, Raikkonen managed to log 107 laps, a significant number which puts them in good shape heading into a break before the second test.
In second was Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, another team with Ferrari engines and one which has done exceeding well in the first test. Ericsson completed 112 laps which was only second to the highest total which was completed my Lewis Hamilton who slotted in at third for Mercedes. Considering the year Sauber had, it seems like a significant step forward but only time will tell whether they actually have the pace to finish in the top 10 or consistent basis or not. Both Ericsson and Hamilton were culprit in bringing out red flags during the day.
Rookie Max Verstappen ended fourth, Toro Rosso well ahead of their parent team Red Bull both in terms of pace and reliability(though it's always difficult to comment on the former in testing). The Dutch driver did close to 100 laps which is significant as he looks to get the feel of Formula 1.
Felipe Massa put Williams at fifth as the Grove based team did fair amount of running but as high as one would have expected out of them.
Lotus with Mercedes engine did fair bit of running as Romain Grosjean finished sixth; the team ran for 53 laps. Daniil Kvyat ended a lowly seventh for Red Bull who seems to be a bit out of place during the test. Again, by their standards, they did far less number of laps. An ERS problem did hinder Kvyat’s programme.
Jenson Button slotted in last with 35 laps in the McLaren-Honda, the best day in terms of laps completed for the Woking team. Engine problem and a fuel pump issues, however, meant that the team had to halt their running prematurely for a second day in a row.
The first test revealed little but one thing which looks like will aid a lot of teams during the season is the reliability of the cars. Even though some of the teams managed to do less running than they would have liked to but overall, they did a fair job. Pace wise Ferrari seems to be looking strong but it is more likely that Mercedes are just playing around with long runs to get their reliability spot on.
The second test is slated for February 19 to 22 in Barcelona. All the teams are expected to run including Force India who will be bringing their 2014 car to the 4.65 km track.
Jerez test - Day 4 Results
1. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari 1:20.841 (106 laps)
2. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber 1:22.019 (112)
3. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes 1:22.172 (116)
4. Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso 1:22.553 (97)
5. Felipe Massa, Williams 1:23.116 (73)
6. Romain Grosjean, Lotus 1:23.802 (53)
7. Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull 1:23.975 (63)
8. Jenson Button, McLaren 1:27.660 (35)
by Darshan Chokhani