Felipe Massa tops first day of final pre-season test

With the Australian Grand Prix just a mere two weeks away, pre-season testing has reached a crucial stage as teams have just four days to get everything done. The day started off with some rain but that eventually cleared up allowing teams to get some solid running under their belts.

Williams driver Felipe Massa got off to the best possible start by setting the fastest time – a lap that was considerably faster than the times from last week. Massa’s best effort was five tenths faster than the fastest time from the first Barcelona test which was a 1:24.067 by Romain Grosjean on super soft tyres, while Massa’s was on a soft tyre. The team were completing some aero work and making some chassis changes.

Behind him was Marcus Ericsson in the Sauber with Lewis Hamilton’s morning time was enough for him to be the third fastest by the end of the day. Mercedes’ running was curtailed by an MGU-K problem which meant that he did not take part in any of the afternoon session. It was also another miserable day for McLaren who were sidelined by a hydraulics issue. This meant that they had to change the engine resulting in Jenson Button completing just seven laps. He will be back in the car tomorrow hoping to get some more running.

Ericsson completed a race simulation in the afternoon, clocking up 122 laps overall – the most of anyone today. Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat had a relatively quiet day after bringing out an early red flag due to stopping at the end of the pit-lane just ten minutes into the morning session. He quickly got going again and completed 75 laps on his way to the fourth fastest time. Last week’s pace setters Lotus also completed 75 laps with Romain Grosjean on driving duties. The team were focusing on performance simulations and set-up evaluations.

With Fernando Alonso out of action due to the accident he had on Sunday on the final day of the first Barcelona test, Carlos Sainz was the Spanish interest. He stopped out on track in the afternoon and caused the second red flag of the day but completed 86 laps for Toro Rosso. Ferrari suffered from reliability problems but were still able to complete some significant mileage with Jerez pace-setter Kimi Raikkonen behind the wheel.

As is always the case with pre-season testing, flat out fast laps are not important. Instead teams will be fine tuning their cars and making sure they have ironed out the issues ahead of the first race. Here are the lap-times from today:

  1. Felipe Massa – 1:23.500 – 103 laps
  2. Marcus Ericsson – 1:24.276 – 122 laps
  3. Lewis Hamilton – 1:24.881 – 48 laps
  4. Daniil Kvyat – 1:25.947 – 75 laps
  5. Romain Grosjean – 1:26.177 – 75 laps
  6. Kimi Raikkonen – 1:26.327 – 80 laps
  7. Carlos Sainz – 1:26.962 – 85 laps
  8. Jenson Button – 1:31.479 – 7 laps

Testing resumes tomorrow with Force India joining the rest of the teams with their 2015 car.

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