Bahrain Day 1: Hulkenberg fastest as new turbo powered cars set impressive lap times

Nico Hulkenberg in the Force India VJM07 ended day one tops in Bahrain

Nico Hulkenberg in the Force India VJM07 ended day one tops in Bahrain

It was day of mixed fortunes in Bahrain on the first day of the second stanza of Formula 1 testing, with Mercedes powered teams generally enjoying a fruitful outing, the Ferrari brigade looking solid, but the Renault teams again struggling to do meaningful mileage at a pace anywhere close to the top times – it was a case of deja vu as the script from Jerez testing was almost identical.

Perhaps the biggest (pleasant) surprise was the pace of the new V6 turbo powered cars. Pre-Bahrain test predictions were that breaking below the 1:40.00 mark would be a tough task, but instead times were respectable and way faster than anticipated.

Best time of the day, 1.36.880, was set by Nico Hulkenberg in the Mercedes powererd Force India with a set of soft Pirelli tyres bolted on to the VJM07 – the only di=river to use them – which compares to Felipe Massa’s best time of 1:34.487 set in FP1 during the Bahrain GP weekend last year.

Fernando Alonso Ferrari F14T

Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari F14T was second fastest

A huge cheer went up in the Force India garage when Hulkenberg topped the timing screens. The satisfaction was almost palpable at the end of the day as the German notched up 78 valuable laps in the process.

Only two seconds difference for the V6 turbo Power Unit that has a mere five days track time is pretty remarkable, and gives credence to predictions that before the year is out the V6 turbos will be on par with the V8 normally aspirated ancestors they have replaced.

Fernando Alonso was second quickest in the Ferrari F14T, albeit a second down on the top time and 64 laps to his credit.

Next up, a tad slower, was Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes W05 who racked up some impressive long stints and ended the day with 74 laps on his chart.

Lewis Hamilton third fastest in the Mercedes W05

Lewis Hamilton third fastest in the Mercedes W05

Rookie Kevin Magnussen continued to impress with his performance in the McLaren MP-29, on his way to setting the fourth best time and 81 laps on the day.

World Champion Sebastian Vettel and the Red Bull team endured another frustrating day, as the overheating problems that plagued them last month at Jerez persisted and as a result, running of the RB10 was severely restricted, with 14 laps the total managed before the car came to a halt on track.

Nevertheless Vettel managed the fifth best time of the day which was best of the Renault powered posse, but well off Hulkenberg’s best. Detailed report here>>>

On the day Adrian Sutil managed to record the most laps, at the wheel of the Ferrari powered Sauber C33, with 82 to his credit, but nearly three seconds off Alonso’s best time.

Sebastian Vettel comes to a halt out on track in the Red Bull RB10

Sebastian Vettel comes to a halt out on track in the Red Bull RB10

Although Vettel was the fastest Renault powered driver, it was Robin Frijns in the Caterham CT05 who will have given the French manufacturer a glimmer of hope. The Dutch Reserve Driver was well off the fastest pace, but nevertheless managed to do 68 laps – more than the other three Renault teams managed collectively.

Rookie Daniil Kvyat lost out on precious track time as the Toro Rosso STR9 continued to be plagued with problems. The Russian teenager managed only five timed laps.

The much anticipated Lotus E22 finally broke cover, with Romain Grosjean out first when the session began at 09:30 am local time, but they too had a problem packed day. Eight laps were their reward on their first full day of official testing. Detailed report here>>>

After a very encouraging first test in Jerez, Williams endured a disappointing start to their Bahrain sessions with a fuel system issue which limited their running to a mere four laps and no time set. They were the only Mercedes powered outfit to experience major problems on the day.

Marussia’s opening day was also compromised, with Jules Bianchi managing a mere three laps altogether, none of them timed. (GP247)

Subbed by AJN.

Bahrain Test, Day 1 Lap Times – Wednesday, 19 February

P Drivers Teams Times Gap Laps
1 N.Hulkenberg Force India 1.36.880 78
2 F.Alonso Ferrari 1.37.879 +0.999 64
3 L.Hamilton Mercedes 1.37.908 +1.028 74
4 K.Magnussen McLaren 1.38.295 +1.415 81
5 S.Vettel Red Bull 1.40.224 +3.344 14
6 A.Sutil Sauber 1.40.443 +3.563 82
7 R.Frijns Caterham 1.42.534 +5.654 68
8 D.Kvyat Toro Rosso 1.44.346 +7.466 5
9 R.Grosjean Lotus 1.44.832 +7.952 8
10 F.Massa Williams -.–.— +-.— 4
11 J.Bianchi Marussia -.–.— +-.— 3

Red Flag Stoppages

Drivers Teams Red Green
1 F.Alonso Ferrari 07h33 07h36
2 A.Sutil Sauber 10h42 10h56
3 D.Kvyat Toro Rosso 13h35 13h58
4 S.Vettel Red Bull 14h07 14h27
Content on by: staff & contributors, Reuters syndication, GMM service, Getty Images, Formula 1 teams, sponsors & organisations.

  • Ankit

    136.880! THAT in my opinion is a really good time set by the 1.6 Turbo. Which is about 2 seconds shy of last year’s best FP1 time. And the times will only get better as the days progress and by the end of the 4th day, you will see a much quicker time and who knows, maybe even break the 1.34 barrier. Where are all the whiners and haters who said that F1 has become slow and GP2 is faster? Tch tch you lot need to be really patient.

  • BS

    Carterham new Renault works team?

  • farizY

    Will it be faster than 2004 cars? We’ll have to wait and see.

  • Ankit

    How can you expect these V6 turbos to be faster than the V10s in 2004? You’re deluded my friend

  • Tamburello1994

    I see DNF hell in my future . . . . .

  • farizY

    Power without control is nothing, yes, V10s were much more powerful, but F1 has advance in the aero department, so much so, that power itself is not enough for fast lap times (which is why back in the 80’s, a 1500bhp BMW engine cannot beat a much less powerful Ferrari and Honda). But I don’t see aero helping much since the reg has been change a lot of times to cut down on the aero bits.
    And Ankit, please, do not make this personal.

  • Ankit

    How am I making ANYTHING personal here?