Bahrain Day 3: Hamilton quickest as Red Bull and Renault troubles continue

Lewis Hamilton fastest on day three in the Mercedes W05

Lewis Hamilton fastest on day three in the Mercedes W05

Lewis Hamilton marked his return to the Mercedes cockpit on day three of Bahrain Formula 1 pres-eason testing by going faster than anyone so far this week, and driving home the fact that Mercedes power has the edge for now with both McLaren and Williams faring well on the day.

Lap times continued to tumble with Hamilton’s best of 1.34.263 well over half a second up on the previous day’s best, on the Soft Pirelli tyres as opposed to the Super-soft used by Kevin Magnussen for his best time on Wednesday. Hamilton was also quickest with the Medium compounds, doing 1:34s with those bolted on.

A “small hydraulic problem” on the W05 cost the Briton track time, but he nevertheless managed 67 tours of the Sakhir circuit. The Silver Arrows appear to be top of the pecking order at this very early stage of the season.

Jenson Button McLaren MP4-29

Jenson Button McLaren MP4-29

Having said that, McLaren are also performing at the sharp end with Jenson Button amassing a whopping 103 laps in the apparently bullet proof MP4-29, ending the day 0.713 of a second down on former teammate Hamilton, and a mere 0.066 down on his current teammate’s best of 24 hours earlier.

Felipe Massa, who shared the Williams FW36 with Valterri Bottas, set the third best time of the day during the afternoon stint, managing 60 laps in the process but was 2.8 seconds down on Hamilton’s best. His teammate Bottas did 55 laps but none of them were timed.

Fourth fastest, with 96 laps to his credit, was Esteban Gutierrez in the Sauber C33, ahead of the works Ferrari with Kimi Raikkonen on duty for the first time this week.

Felipe Massa Williams FW36

Felipe Massa Williams FW36

The Finn was sixth fastest, his day compromised with telemetry issues which resulted in a relatively subdued day compared to teammate Alonso who was among the fastest during his two days on duty. Raikkonen only managed 44 laps during the course of the day.

Splitting the Ferarri powered duo was Sergio Perez in the Force India, who was fifth fastest and notched up 57 laps on his first day at the wheel of the VJM07 this week.

Rookie Daniil Kvyat was the most successful of the Renault powered gang, racking up 57 laps and the seventh best time, which was 4.7 seconds off the top pace.

Esteban Gutierrez Sauber C33

Esteban Gutierrez Sauber C33

The troubles at Lotus continued with Pastor Maldonado having his first official run for the team. Things started well, before problems struck. As a result he only managed 26 laps in the E22. On the bright side the Venezuelan was the first Renault powered driver to dip below 100 seconds around the grand prix venue on the day.

World Champions Red Bull were forced to wrap up their day early – an hour or so before the end of the day, they wheeled the RB10 into the garage and brought a premature end to Daniel Ricciardo’s first outing in Bahrain. He was eighth fastest, with 28 laps on the chart and 6.5 seconds down on the day’s best lap time.

Caterham continued to rack up impressive mileage, compared to their fellow Renault powered outfits, with rookie Marcus Ericsson managing 98 laps in the CT05, albeit 7.8 seconds off the pace.

It was a disappointing day for Max Chilton in the Ferrari powered Marussia. The team decided after four laps decided to change the engine, and were not seen out on track again during the course of the day.

The final day of the first of two F1 pre-season tests in Bahrain takes place tomorrow [Saturday]. (GP247)

Subbed by AJN.

Bahrain Test, Day 3 Lap Times – Friday,  21 February

P Drivers Teams Times Gap Laps
1 L.Hamilton Mercedes 1.34.263 67
2 J.Button McLaren 1.34.976 +0.713 103
3 F.Massa Williams 1.37.066 +2.803 60
4 E.Gutierrez Sauber 1.37.180 +2.917 96
5 S.Perez Force India 1.37.367 +3.104 57
6 K.Raikkonen Ferrari 1.37.476 +3.213 44
7 D.Kvyat Toro Rosso 1.38.975 +4.711 57
8 P.Maldonado Lotus 1.39.642 +5.379 26
9 D.Ricciardo Red Bull 1.40.781 +6.518 28
10 M.Ericsson Caterham 1.42.130 +7.867 98
11 M.Chilton Marussia 1.46.672 +12.409 4
12 V.Bottas Williams -.–.— +-.— 55


Drivers Teams Red Flag Green Flag
1 M.Chilton Marussia 07h48 08h15
2 P.Maldonado Lotus 10h50 11h09
3 P.Maldonado Lotus 13h35 13h46
Content on by: staff & contributors, Reuters syndication, GMM service, Getty Images, Formula 1 teams, sponsors & organisations.

  • Hawk

    i see some people being lapped so many times over

  • Nkoli

    My money is on Lewis Hamilton this year! I have the feeling we’re going to witness formula 3 performance of 2005 from him. Here we come Red Bull and Ferrari.

  • KevinW

    If the Merc engine is indeed a significant advantage, then this will be another boring season of laps playing out in predictable races. I’d rather see things a lot closer, but if what it takes to get Lu Lu his trophy is to swap places with Vettel as being the one with “the superior car”, as he has classified the last 5 seasons, then I am sure there will be plenty of happy and gleeful fans out there. I am equally sure that it will be represented as Lewis out-driving the competition, and beating Vettel on a one-on-one battle of equal machines – even if the Merc power package proves superior to all comers – assuming any of this is even true… There is just as big a chance that Vettel and Red Bull show they can overcome and win with a package that is not particularly “superior”, although I am sure if they win it will be classified as such, by some miracle transformation. Can’t wait till the season starts and all this is put to the real test.

  • Tamburello1994

    I like this assessment. Good post.

  • f1 fan

    Waiting for a Mercedes v mclaren !! would be interesting :)

  • karlich

    Sad but true. Not that I dislike Lewis or that I regard his driving talents in anyway inferior to those of the best… but the media spin on this would be sickening 😛

  • Resultant Asteroid

    I was also thinking around the “assuming any of this is even true” that you said. We donot know at what percentage each team is running it’s car right now, I’m assuming (and maybe wrong ofcourse) that the Merc-powered ones are ahead in this direction, because of the Renault problems that costs it’s teams Jerez.
    IMO, what made RB champions 4 times in a row is the whole team mentality and problem management (compare this to the other teams’ problems during that period), so I’m sure they will turn the tables (again, assuming that what we see currently is reflecting the “truth”).
    The interesting small detail for me, to add to the idea of media coverage, is (assuming Ferrari’s problem was related to telemetry only, so not affecting car at all) that the bulletproof Merc had a “small hydraulic problem” that cost him track time (which was not elaborated by AJN ofcourse, way smooth to deliver the news without shaking the readers 😉