Testing Day 1: Vettel fastest, Hamilton farthest, Haas F1 least

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The end of the first day of testing for the 2016 Formula 1 season has ended and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel set the outright pace over 69 laps. Vettel was 0.470s ahead of Mercedes driver and defending world champion Lewis Hamilton who threw down an attention-grabbing 156 laps!

Lap count is one major key to success in the first test of the season. More laps ran with uneventful fashion means reliability is looking good and that’s what Mercedes seemed to suggest.

vettel ferrari day 1 test

There’s another good story coming from testing in that McLaren’s Jenson Button ran 84 laps which was more than they did the entirety of last year’s first 4-day test in total. A big accomplishment for the team and race director Eric Boullier says it is giving the team a lot of hope for 2016…as it should.

Sauber ran 88 laps in the hands of Marcus Ericsson and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo put in 87 laps which means a lot given their re-badged Renault engine that is now a TAG. He was also 3rd fastest in the day which also bodes well.

The day didn’t go as well for Renault’s Joylon Palmer who struggled with issues most of the day and managed to come in last but not in lap count, that was reserved for fledgling F1 team, Haas F1, who had wing trouble in the morning and only managed 31 laps on the day. While they did the least amount of laps, they did managed to beat the Renault in time.

1Sebastian VettelFerrari1m24.939s69
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1m25.409s0.470s156
3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/TAG Heuer1m26.044s1.105s87
4Valtteri BottasWilliams/Mercedes1m26.091s1.152s80
5Alfonso CelisForce India/Mercedes1m26.298s1.359s58
6Jenson ButtonMcLaren/Honda1m26.735s1.796s84
7Carlos SainzToro Rosso/Ferrari1m27.180s2.241s55
8Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari1m27.555s2.616s88
9Pascal WehrleinManor/Mercedes1m28.292s3.353s54
10Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari1m28.399s3.460s31
11Jolyon PalmerRenault1m29.356s4.417s37


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On the opening day of testing last year (in Jerez), McLaren only managed six laps. Now while Haas did much better than that, they did have a proven power unit unlike the Woking team last year. A fairer comparison would be the next shortest distance which was recorded by Red Bull, who circulated 35 times. For a brand new team running 31 laps is a good start, and not far from the distance recorded by the Renault team. Times at this stage are a lot less important than mileage. It will be interesting to see how the team cope with… Read more »

Bacon Wrapped Sushi

What worries me is the Merc motor probably is so reliable, I wonder if they aren’t even running it at 80% juice…

I am happy to see Haas turn about 50% of a race distance on their first day out. Like MIE said, this is a good day for Haas.

Paul KieferJr

1. Mercedes vs. Ferrari is starting to look like “endurance vs. speed”. I guess we’ll find out which one wins.
2. That’s an interesting result from RBR. Could be that they might pop up higher than I expected.
3. Interesting improvement from McLaren. Let’s see how that one goes.
4. Okay, Haas, you’re going to have to do a little bit better than that for reliability (watch that wing). Plenty of time to fix that, though.


I think you’re reading far too much into the laptimes. At this stage of the testing its all about reliability, making sure everything’s working & ironing out any issues, as well as analyzing the aerodynamics & making sure they’re behaving as expected compared to simulator & wind tunnel results. Optimizing setups for speed & running true hot laps – that will come much later.

The Captain

I would say that other than Renault every one (especially Haas) had a very positive first day.

I WOULD say that but with Merc deciding to show up on day one of testing and prove they could have run the Daytona 500 straight outta the box kinda makes the rest of the field look a tad behind.


Mildly excited with McLaren completing more than 6 laps and #teamnotlast.

Tom Firth

Mclaren did very well in terms of mileage
compared to last year, but Boulier’s comments at lunchtime to Sky sports news, weren’t very optimistic. Basically he felt it wasn’t good enough, and that the progress had made was basically the minimum expectation, in terms of performance.

We’ll see, but it’s a start certainly that the car can last a race distance out the box. Also did anyone else read that Mclaren are bringing another engine to the next test?


Awesome Ferrari WOW. Hope this is real.

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