Valtteri Bottas finishes on top for Mercedes on day 3 of testing in Barcelona
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News March 1, 2017 Updated: 5:44 PM
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas ended his day on top with a lap time of 1:19.705 in the morning session on the ultra-soft tire ( Purple-banded). Bottas also set fast laps on the soft and super-soft tires as well. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel finished right behind Bottas with a 1:19.952 on soft tires resulting in an another productive day for the Scuderia.
Lewis Hamilton's afternoon session was mostly interrupted by red flags, which shifted his focus to working on longer runs using the soft tires. Hamilton was app tempting a race simulation but was once again hindered by red flags.
Both Renault's Jolyon Palmer and Williams Lance Stoll sent their cars dancing into the gravel bringing out red flags and the recovery truck.
Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz' STR12 stopped on track just as the afternoon session got started. Lance Stroll had another spin coming out of Turn 5, sliding across the track, hitting the wall, and smashing the front nose and front-left suspension of his FW40. The F1 debutant did, however, put in 98 laps before his day was done. Sebastian Vettel cranked out 139 laps before his car stopped just before the end of the afternoon session.
“A lot, but never enough. That’s what testing is for, to give you an idea. And the idea is that these cars, as a result of the new regulations, are very different to last year, in the way they look and in the way of driving them. We are more or less at the performance levels of ten years ago, with a lot of aerodynamic downforce, but also with quite a lot more weight. They are also more physical and at the end of the day, you feel tired, but this is normal for the first outing since the winter break. The tires are also different and they behave more consistently " said Vettel.
Red bull driver Daniel Ricciardo finished the day third, logging in 70 laps and was 1.448s off Bottas' best effort. Nico Hulkenberg took over for his teammate in the afternoon and finished with 42 laps.
Sauber's Marcus Ericsson had a very productive day with a total of 126 laps and finished sixth. Haas F1's Romain Grosjean, who went through various systems checks in the morning and an array of setup configurations in the afternoon finished eighth, racking up 56 laps.
McLaren-Honda had a problem-free day with Fernando Alonso completing 72 laps after installing a new oil tank. Monday, the team ran into an oil system issue and then a mechanical problem on Tuesday. But, Racing Director Eric Boullier is confident these small setbacks will help them move forward to end the week on a positive note.
“Today has been a much more successful day, and we’re happy that we’ve been able to execute our testing program proper with a full day of running. I’m pleased to report that there were no major issues, and the team completed our planned run program for the day.
“We’re confident that the issues we’ve experienced so far are glitches and part of the usual challenges faced in testing. The problems on Monday and Tuesday meant we lost valuable track time, which means glitches that occur in day one can then spread into day three, simply because of the lack of mileage.
“The more we run, the more we learn, and, naturally, the more there is potential for issues to be discovered that we need to fix. However, there is a minimum mileage figure that we can do that allows us enough data to understand the car and how to set it up, and from there we can move forward.
“While we shouldn’t get carried away, today’s running has provided the team with a boost after a tricky couple of days, and I hope we continue collecting more mileage and data tomorrow to end the first week," said Boullier.
Rounding off the rest of the field; Sainz finished 11th with 32 laps, followed by Alfonso Celis, Force India's reserve driver, who put in 71 laps and finished 12th. Sainz' Toro Rosso teammate, Daniil Kvyat, finished 13th with 31 laps to end the day.
Tommorrow's final day of testing will give the teams a chance to do some wet weather running as the track will be artificially soaked then allowed to dry for teams to test on a gradually drying track.
2017 Formula One Testing – Barcelona Test 1, Day 3
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:19.705s – 75
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:19.952s 0.247s 139
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:21.153s 1.448s 70
4 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:21.396s 1.691s 51
5 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:21.791s 2.086s 42
6 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:21.824s 2.119s 126
7 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:22.118s 2.413s 56
8 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.175s 2.470s 95
9 Lance Stroll Williams 1:22.351s 2.646s 98
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:22.598s 2.893s 72
11 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:23.540s 3.835s 32
12 Alfonso Celis Force India 1:23.568s 3.863s 71
13 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:23.952s 4.247s 31