Silver Arrows clock up the miles – and pick up the pace – on day three in Barcelona…
Encouraging start to pre-season F1 testing
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport’s encouraging start to pre-season F1 testing continued on Wednesday, as Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton hit the 170 lap mark to take the new W08’s running total for the week to 2,281 km – more than seven full race distances of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Valtteri was behind the wheel in the morning, focusing on aero data collection in the colder temperatures, before moving on to analysis of the softer tyre compound and setup work in preparation for Melbourne.
The Finn added 75 more laps to his week’s tally and had the honour of ending the day at the top of the leaderboard – his 1:19.705 on the UltraSoft tyre the fastest lap of any driver so far this week in Barcelona.
Valtteri: 'The car is running well and it’s feeling better and better'
“I think it was another good session,” said Valtteri. “We completed lots of mileage and the entire programme that we’d planned to do – including some long and short runs, collecting information on the different tyre compounds.
“We did some aero work to start with in the morning when the conditions were cold, then moved onto testing different settings on the car. It was a pretty straightforward day again, so I think everyone has done a great job so far. The car is running well and it’s feeling better and better.
“It was definitely easier today without the windy conditions and I was able to experience the new car a bit more. One more day of testing left this week, with the wet running on Thursday, so I’m looking forward to getting more laps in tomorrow.”
Lewis: 'It’s been a great test so far for the team'
Lewis hit the track in the W08 in the afternoon, completing his first race simulation of pre-season testing before rounding off the day with aero setup work and a round of pit stop practice.
“It’s been a great test so far for the team,” said Lewis. “Everyone at the factory has worked so hard to build a car that goes the distance. As always on these test days we’re just trying to get through as much as possible, in terms of reliability.
“The main thing is I got my first race run done today with no problems at all. Everything’s worked well, which I’m happy about. The car is running smoothly and we’re just running through setup items to tick off boxes at this stage.
Lewis: 'Valtteri is doing a great job so far'
“This is testing, so on the first week you never chase times. When you bring out a new car you don’t have all of the components to be able to switch and make changes and work through everything you want to do – that’s something that filters through over the days. Next week we should have a better opportunity to dial in the car, but for now we’re focusing on mileage.”
Lewis and Valtteri have only been team-mates since January, but the three-time Formula One World Champion was full of praise for the excellent start the Finn has made to life at Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport.
“Valtteri is doing a great job so far,” added Lewis. “His feedback seems solid, he’s working great with the team and transitioning in smoothly.”
Nico: 'It’s good to be back, it’s good to see my racing family again'
Recently retired Nico Rosberg dropped by the circuit during the morning to check out this year’s cars on track. And they certainly didn’t disappoint the 2016 World Champion…
“It’s good to be back, it’s good to see my racing family again,” said Nico. “There’s such a massive hype in Formula One at the moment. I wanted to see the new cars first hand. They look absolutely monstrous – very aggressive – and everyone is excited. It’s great to see.
“The drivers seem to be loving the new cars so far. I think they will turn the drivers into proper gladiators out on track. The cars will take them to their limits and we might even see drivers losing race wins because they’re physical drained.
Nico: 'I’m sure Valtteri will do a good job for the team'
“I have no regrets about retiring. I’m just looking forward to the future now. I’m happy it’s Valtteri that has got the seat. I’m sure he’ll do a good job for the team.
“We need to expect Valtteri to be challenging Lewis this year. It’s difficult to predict how exactly the two of them will compare as we know Lewis is a massive benchmark, so it’s not going to be easy. But I expect it to be a really good battle.”
The first pre-season test continues for a fourth and final day on Thursday, with Lewis kicking off the test programme in the morning and Valtteri taking the wheel of the W08 for the afternoon session.
Results: 2017 Pre-Season Test 1, Day 3:
|01||Valtteri Bottas (77)||Mercedes||75||1:19:705|
|02||Sebastian Vettel (5)||Ferrari||139||1:19.952|
|03||Daniel Ricciardo (3)||Red Bull||70||1:21.153|
|04||Jolyon Palmer (30)||Renault||51||1:21.396|
|05||Nico Hülkenberg (27)||Renault||42||1:21.791|
|06||Marcus Ericsson (9)||Sauber||126||1:21.824|
|07||Lewis Hamilton (44)||Mercedes||95||1:22.090|
|08||Romain Grosjean (8)||Haas||56||1:22.118|
|09||Lance Stroll (18)||Williams||98||1:22.351|
|10||Fernando Alonso (14)||McLaren||72||1:22.598|
|11||Carlos Sainz (55)||Toro Rosso||32||1:23.540|
|12||Alfonso Celis Jr. (34)||Force India||71||1:23.568|
|13||Daniil Kvyat (26)||Toro Rosso||31||1:23.952|