Williams’s Felipe Massa was fastest on the first day of the second pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya. The Brazilian set his best lap, a 1:19.7, on the supersoft tyres just before the lunch break.
The Brazilian looking in strong form going one tenth up on Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, and completed nearly three race distances. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was third fastest and equalled the amount of distance on track that Massa achieved.
Williams will be pleased with their mileage on track, after losing last Tuesday after Massa’s teammate Lance Stroll spun breaking the front wing. Massa set his best time during the morning and with the teams focusing on long runs in the afternoon, his time stood.
Vettel set a 1:19.9 to go fastest for the afternoon, but it was not enough to push former Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo out of second. Ricciardo set that time, 0.006 faster than Vettel on the Ultra during the morning.
Ricciardo produced a lap of 1:20.077 on softs – a fraction better than Mercedes’ fastest time on softs in the whole of the first test.
McLaren’s hopes of a much stronger start to the second test were dashed, after Stoffel Vandoorne’s car needed an engine change. However, the Belgian did complete eighty laps setting his best time of the day, which was 2.8 seconds down on Massa.
Mercedes struggled during the morning, with Lewis Hamilton’s running being restricted to just under fifty laps. Observers described Hamilton’s running as ‘scruffy’ with the three-time world champion admitting he had struggled to dial in the W08 to the conditions.
Hamilton damaged the floor of his W08 during his running and finished the day fourth in the timesheets. Hamilton said, “As a team, we are not massively happy with the time we had and the car didn’t feel great this morning.”
Things went much better for Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas during the afternoon with him setting the fifth fastest lap, giving Mercedes a total of 135 laps.
As for Hamilton’s fellow brit Jolyon Palmer, thinks were not going better. Palmer could only get fifteen laps as power-unit issues stopped his running moments before lunch, bringing out the days only red flag.
Palmer handed over to team-mate Nico Hulkenberg for the afternoon but wasn’t much better for the German. The German’s car broke down on circuit meaning he had to stop on track.
McLaren was looking to put behind their problems from last week. However, the car had other ideas after a new problem was detected on their car’s faltering Honda engine.
The team has already exceeded the number of power units that are permitted during the season, according to estimates. All this comes against the backdrop of reports growing tensions between McLaren and engine supplier Honda.
But, McLaren insists they are giving no thought to divorcing their engine partners, team boss Eric Boullier told reporters he was “not concerned” about McLaren’s performances.
McLaren is the only team yet to break through the 1:22 lap mark at Barcelona this year while only Toro Rosso has recorded fewer laps.
Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein got his first taste of the new car having missed the first test because the back injury he sustained in the Race of Champions, though the German-Mauritian appeared to be limited in the programme he was running.
Wehrlein set a 01:23.3 and did forty-seven before handing over to team-mate Marcus Ericson who did fifty-three laps.