Daniel Ricciardo managed to keep Red Bull’s pre-season woes at bay to set the fastest time on second day of Barcelona pre-season test on Friday. But more importantly, he racked in 143 laps, providing the Milton Keynes outfit and its Viry-Châtillon based engine partner with all the data it needs to build on this run.
And while Red Bull’s progress in encouraging, the team still trailed Mercedes in terms of total mileage during the day. Drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg completed 66 and 89 laps respectively to edge Red Bull’s total by 12 laps. Rosberg drove during the morning session before handing the W06 to his British teammate to prevent aggravation of his neck injury. He, however, had other reasons to celebrate having announced that he’s about to become a father later this year.
Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari again found themselves in the fight for the top of the timesheets, even though lap times mean little in testing.The Finn completed 90 laps around the Barcelona Circuit with his fastest time just a hundredth of a second shy of Ricciardo’s benchmark of 1:24.574.
Third in line was the Williams of Felipe Massa with a time of 1:24.672. The Brazilian had a trouble-free run and was welcomed by fellow countrymen and football star Neymar in the paddock.
Force India were next on road with Sergio Perez completing 121 laps - only bested by Ricciardo and Mercedes duo- in team’s 2014 challenger. With only minor changes in the regulations from last year, the Silverstone based outfit hopes to gather useful information before putting their 2015 car through paces at the same venue later this month.
The aforementioned Mercedes pair of Hamilton and Rosberg set the fifth and sixth fastest time of the day respectively with the German outfit focusing mostly on long runs. In fact, Hamilton successfully completed a race simulation during the second half of the day, indicating how further they are in their testing programme.
McLaren enjoyed their most productive outing since switching to Honda power this season with double world champion Fernando Alonso accumulating 59 laps worth of mileage and setting the seventh quickest lap time.
Jolyon Palmer got his first taste of 2015 F1 machinery with Lotus and was eighth in the timesheets ahead of Sauber of Marcus Ericsson. The Swede stopped mysteriously on track during the final hour of the session but had completed over 100 laps by then in what was an otherwise strong day for Sauber.
And finally, Toro Rosso debutant Carlos Sainz Jr completed the table with a time of 1:28.945.
After an eventual first day in the Spanish venue, Friday’s session was mostly free from incidents. Five of the nine teams managed over 100 laps, indicating the progress they’ve made since the Jerez test held only a couple of weeks ago.