Ferrari on top, Mercedes ‘pulled muscle’ on final day of testing

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The final day of the first test of 2017 was a wet-dry affair as Pirelli soaked the track and teams began testing the wet-weather tire selections from the Italian tire maker. It was a case of changeable conditions as the track began to dry from the initial overnight deluge and again at lunch time. The dry track running times were limited but Ferrari came out on top with Kimi Raikkonen setting a 1m20.872s time followed by the plucky teen Max Verstappen in his Red Bull.

Mercedes, having set a punishing level of mileage in the first three days, seemed to finally experience some issues. First it was an electrical issue that limited Lewis Hamilton’s running time in the morning. The afternoon was halted short in the final hours when engineers saw something in the data they weren’t happy with and Valtteri Bottas ended his run.  Given the issues, perhaps Lewis Hamilton should have faked the pulled muscle.

“I hear it’s wet tomorrow, so not particularly looking forward to that,” Hamilton told reporters. “I drove some demonstration wet tyres at Silverstone (last week) and they didn’t feel great. And I’m out first, unfortunately.

“I might fake a pulled muscle in the morning and let Valtteri do it.”

Haas F1 piled on 118 laps for the day and were looking good along with Renault and both Sauber as well as Force India.

McLaren managed to complete 67 laps on the day in the hands of Stoffel Vandoorne who managed to set a slightly quicker lap than Fernando Alonso had a day earlier. It’s a good sign for McLaren to get some mileage in given the issues they’ve had so far this week.

Speaking of issues, Toro Rosso managed one lap and called it a day as they were hampered by engine issues and didn’t return in the afternoon session. Williams, having had a crash on Wednesday in the hands of rookie Lance Stroll, said the chassis was damaged and in the interest of safety, chose not to run on the final day.

PosDriverCarTimeGapLaps
1Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1m20.872s93
2Max VerstappenRed Bull/Renault1m21.769s0.897s85
3Jolyon PalmerRenault1m21.778s0.906s39
4Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari1m22.309s1.437s118
5Antonio GiovinazziSauber/Ferrari1m22.401s1.529s84
6Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes1m22.534s1.662s82
7Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren/Honda1m22.576s1.704s67
8Valtteri BottasMercedes1m23.443s2.571s68
9Nico HulkenbergRenault1m24.974s4.102s51
10Daniil KvyatToro Rosso/Renault1

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jakobusvdl
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jakobusvdl

So Mercedes and Ferrari seem to have a second on the field, after that everyone else could be as quick as each other. Lance’s dad is going to have to cough up for a new chassis, and some extra driving lessons

Zachary Noepe
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Zachary Noepe

Yeah not sure whether to criticize the kid or feel bad for him. Lot of pressure in front of everyone who’s waiting for you to fail like that. On the other hand, he’s the one who pushed his way in there. On the other hand it’s a lot of pressure in front of everyone who’s waiting for you to fail like that.

Hope he pulls it together.

jakobusvdl
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jakobusvdl

I agree, I’d prefer to see him succeed (if for no other reason than I want to see Williams continue their resurgence). But I’ve heard that through running an extensive development schedule in a 2014 car, Stroll comes into F1 as the best prepared rookie in years. In that context his problems in testing, where he’s not expected to be pushing his limits every lap, make me think he’s operating beyond his current capabilities.

Zachary Noepe
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Zachary Noepe

It’s early, but I’m afraid of the same thing.