It was cold and wet at Jerez on the final day of F1 testing, with little respite except towards the end when a dry-ish line emerged and as a result times tumbled, with Felipe Massa ending fastest of all in the Williams.
Massa ended just short of a second up on former teammate Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari. Massa’s best time of 1:28.229 on the penultimate lap of his final run of the day, with the track at the driest it had been all day.
Thus for four days in a row a Mercedes powered car topped the charts in southern Spain, with Ferrari the best of the rest. The Renault powered brigade were in dire straits, so much so that world champions Red Bull packed up early once again.
Massa, who departed Ferrari for Williams, will be buoyed by his debut, as will the team. The Brazilian racked up 133 laps during the course of his two days in the cockpit of the FW36.
Alonso and Ferrari will also be satisfied with the work done as they notched up a a very handy 115 laps on the day, and 173 during his two days in the cockpit of the F14T.
Daniel Juncadella was on duty for Force India, in place of regular drivers Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, the Spaniard racking up 81 laps and setting the third best time of the day.
Next on the timing screens was Kevin Magnussen who ended the day with 110 laps on his board, and impressing with his diligence and the way he has eased himself into the role of Formula 1 driver.
Mercedes split the driving duties between their two drivers, with Nico Rosberg doing the morning stint where he accumulated 91 laps before handing over to teammate Lewis Hamilton who added another 41 laps – thus the W05 did 132 laps, more than any other car on the day. Hamilton and Rosberg finished the day fifth and eighth respectively.
Up next were the two Ferrari customer teams with Jules Bianchi only managing 25 laps in the Marussia MR03 on his way to setting the sixth best time.
Adrian Sutil ended the day seventh fastest in the Sauber C33 with 69 laps on his board but alarmingly for the Swiss outfit he struggled with grip and his best time was over eight seconds shy of Massa’s top time.
At the very bottom of the timing sheets were the three Renault powered teams, of which Caterham with Kamui Kobayashi on duty, was the better of the trio although they were a massive 15 seconds off the pace. Nevertheless the Japanese driver, making his return to F1 after a one year lay-off, managed to do 54 laps during the course of the day.
Both Red Bull backed teams were suffering with Daniil Kvyat only managing nine laps, and also way off the pace, while Daniel Ricciardo could only manage seven tours of the former grand prix venue at 17 seconds off the pace.
The teams gather for the second stanza of 2014 testing in Bahrain starting on 19 February, running for four days until 22 February. The first grand prix of the season takes place on 16 March in Melbourne, Australia.
Subbed by AJN.
Jerez Test, Day 4 Lap Times – Friday, 31 January 2014