Day three out of four in Barcelona for pre-season testing has saw the pendulum swing away from Ferrari and into the hands of Nico Hülkenberg for the fastest lap. The Force India driver completed 99 laps of the circuit with the fastest time of 1:23.110 set on Pirelli’s brand new ultra-soft tyres.
For the third day running, conditions for the test were fine all day with temperatures reaching 23°C.
Hülkenberg had a dominant day, as he finished two seconds ahead of the impressive second place from Romain Grosjean for Haas F1. Haas have had a successful start to Formula One with impressive results in all previous days of the test. They are proving reliable and managed to clock 82 laps today. They will definitely be a team to watch out for in the next few weeks as they are really providing themselves a strong base for the whole of 2016.
Ferrari was knocked off the top today and could only manage a third place with, Kimi Räikkönen swapping in for Sebastian Vettel. He completed 78 with a best time of 1:25.977 set on medium tires. Räikkönen commented on his session saying: “The atmosphere in the team is quite nice even if, honestly, we’re still working on different things and still find something new to work on, but I am sure it’s going to be a better car than last year’s. There are always small changes between one car and another, they are never the same. We had improvements in many areas from the past season”.
It was also a strong day for Renault as they appeared to put the troubles they suffered in the first two days behind them. Kevin Magnussen was in the car for the first time this season and finished 4th with a best time of 1:26.014 set on softs. However the key to their strong session was the fact that they completed an amazing 111 laps. That’s something the French manufacturer desperately needed for them to kick start their 2016 campaign.
Mercedes again didn’t make any impression in the standings as they decided to split the workload between their two drivers. Nico Rosberg took the morning session and completed 74 laps with a best time of 1:26.084 set on mediums. He commented on his session saying: “That was another very valuable day for us. It’s amazing to see that the car is already so reliable and we started trying some basic set up changes this morning too. It was good to split the time on track with Lewis. The car is able to do so many laps, so I think it’s probably a more effective way of doing things”.
In the afternoon Lewis Hamilton took over and completed 88 more laps with a best time of 1:26.421 on mediums. Lewis made the comment: “I feel great now – but yesterday I was a bit sore. It’s a bit like going to the gym when you haven’t been for ages. If you do a hard workout straight away, you’ll be in pain afterwards. For your neck in particular, it doesn’t matter how hard you train during the winter, driving just hits it in a different way that you can’t really simulate”.
The teams will be back out on the track tomorrow for the last day of the first pre-season test. Its now under a month until the first F1 race and everyone is getting ready. Having testing is really getting everyone on fever pitch. The weather isn’t forecast to be amazing with a slight bit of rain throughout the day, but when has that ever stopped F1?