McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen got his Formula 1 career to the best start possible when he topped the timing sheets at the end of the third day of testing at Jerez de la Frontera in southern Spain on Thursday, where once again, the Mercedes powered teams prospered while the Renault brigade suffered.
Magnussen’s best time of 1:23.276 was almost a second faster than the top time set 24 hours earlier, and almost five seconds up on the times set on the first day, suggesting that the new V6 turbo cars may eventually match their predecessors. The young Dane set his fastest lap time on Pirelli Mediums, late in the day.
With the team having missed Tuesday running, Button was given the morning stint before handing over to Magnussen. The 2009 World Champion’s best time was good enough for fourth fastest of the day, and together they amassed 92 laps.
Thus for the second day in succession the McLaren MP4-29 has been fastest of all, with Button having ended the previous day tops, no doubt a much needed boost for the team undergoing some major changes behind the scenes.
It was another day where Mercedes continued to boast the upper hand as the top four cars on the timing screens were powered by the Stuttgart manufacturer.
It was a productive day for Felipe Massa who made his Williams debut on the day, finishing second fastest with 47 laps to his credit in the FW36. His lap was set in the final minutes of the day’s proceedings.
Next up, third quickest, was Lewis Hamilton who managed a solid run of 62 laps in total at the wheel of the Mercedes W05, which would have been more had a transmission issue not brought the day to an early close for the 2008 World Champion.
Fernando Alonso replaced Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari F14T and did 58 laps on his way to the fifth best time, albeit over two seconds down on Magnussen’s best. The Spaniard was also the first to stop out on track with a problem, but was running again, soon afterwards.
Force India returnee Nico Hulkenberg had his first day back at work in the VJM07, but only managed 17 laps and the sixth best time.
Best of the quartet of Renault powered teams was Toro Rosso, with Jean Eric Vergne in the cockpit. The Frenchman managed 30 laps but was 6.6 seconds off the pace. But the day did not end well, as twice in a short space of time the STR9 stopped out on track.
Eighth fastest was Adrian Sutil who had his first outing in the Ferrari powered Sauber C33, but he crashed shortly before 15:00. He ended the day eighth fastest, with 34 laps completed.
Caterham Reserve Driver Robin Frijns did ten laps but did not set a time, while the new Marussia MR02 finally arrived at the circuit but Max Chilton was only able to do three laps.
Once again the problems faced by World Champions Red Bull were the big talking points, as Daniel Ricciardo got his first taste of the RB10, but like his teammate Sebastian Vettel on the previous two days, it was not for long. Ricciardo only managed three laps, as Renault have clearly underestimated the task at hand, and as it stands their V6 turbo engine is the worst of the lot and a big worry to the teams who are dishing out the big bucks for the units. (GP247.com)
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Jerez Test, Day 3 Lap Times – Thursday, 30 January 2014