Red Bull Ring Test: Rosberg ends final day on top

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After rain had disrupted much of the first day of testing at the Austrian circuit, leading to Tuesday’s running to be extended by two hours, the final day saw better conditions and a largely trouble-free session for the drivers on duty.

Bottas set the early pace, with the Finn topping the timesheets as the lunch break arrived. His best time of the first part of the session was a 1:10.495 set on supersofts.

When the running resumed Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo was a notable absentee and the Australian remained in the garage until just after an hour into the afternoon, though the team later said morning aero work had given way to planned changes that delayed their re-entry to the session.

Ricciardo eventually put in 116 laps though this included a stoppage 45 mins from the end of the session when he halted at the end of the pit lane with a brake pedal issues that caused overheating a small fire. He managed to return to the fray for a final run in the closing minutes of the session.

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Bottas’ benchmark was quickly erased in the early afternoon, with Rosberg setting a best time of 1:09.113 that kept him in P1 until the end of the session. The Austrian Grand Prix-winner managed to get through 110 laps as he kept Mercedes at the top of the timesheet for the second day running.

Gutierrez got through the same number of laps on his way to second place, with lap of 1:09.931, set relatively late in the afternoon.

With Bottas third, fourth place went to F1 debutant Marco Wittmann, who was at the wheel for Toro Rosso. The DTM champion put in an impressive performance to log a time of 1:10.103 and completed the day’s largest lap total, with 158 tours of the Red Bull Ring.

Fifth was Pascal Wehrlein. The German claimed top spot yesterday but today moved from Mercedes to Force India for whom he recorded a best lap of 1:10.253. Jolyon Palmer was sixth for Lotus. Fernando Alonso put in 104 laps for McLaren-Honda, taking over at the wheel of the MP4-30 from Stoffel Vandoorne. Felipe Nasr was last on the timesheet but the Brazilian got through 138 laps for Sauber.

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Driver Quotes from Red Bull Ring Test Day 2

Nico Rosberg (Mercedes): “Monday and Tuesday were two long days waiting for better weather, so today was important as there are only four test days during the season now. Luckily, the track was consistent and we could try a lot of different things. We had a gearbox issue just before lunch but luckily it didn’t really cost us any time as we could work on it during the break and the guys did a great job to get me back out there so quick, so thank you to them for that. It was an intense programme but we got through everything and learned a lot. We started with was some aero work then spent time looking at tyres and a few mechanical things like spring settings. We also ran a stiff setup in preparation for Silverstone, which will be useful for next week. The car felt good with that so I’m sure we will be strong at the next race. It’s a very fast track and you have to drive it very hard. But that sort of content – high-speed corners needing good downforce – is a specialty of this car, so I’m feeling confident.”

Valtteri Bottas (Williams): “It was a good day overall and luckily the weather was kinder to us. The work Susie did yesterday was really important as we continued our programme. We focused on aero and mechanical work, and now have a clearer idea where we need to push in terms of development. I now have to switch my focus to Silverstone, which I am really looking forward to.”

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Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull): “We did a lot of laps today and that included a pretty big break over lunch to make some car changes, so to get in more than 100 laps was very good. We learned a few things and we tested a lot of stuff. We had a big aero rake on the car this morning that looked like something out of ‘The Terminator’ but it’s all good information for the aero guys and will help going forward. We had a small problem at the end with the brakes but it wasn’t a major issue and we were able to get out again for one last run. I’m looking forward to Silverstone now – there are a few more corners and less straights in Silverstone [than here in Austria], so I think it should suit our car a bit better. We have some updates coming to Silverstone as well, so I hope we can take the fight to our immediate rivals.”

Felipe Nasr (Sauber): “I am quite satisfied. Today was very productive, as we went through the planned programme. We were able to go through a job list of things that could not be done during a race weekend. We completed some useful work after the lunch break, as we worked on the brakes. In the end we completed over a hundred laps. We will now analyse the large quantity of data and informations we gathered to further improve our performance.”

Esteban Gutiérrez: “Testing focused mainly on studying the behaviour of the various Pirelli compounds, as well as looking at some aerodynamic solutions. It’s always nice to be able to drive the current Formula 1 car and I want to thank the team for giving me this opportunity. It was a positive day, we did a good job and we completed the programme we had set ourselves, gathering plenty of data that we can now carefully analyse back in Maranello.”

Marco Wittmann (Toro Rosso): “This has been an amazing experience for me. I was surprised at the power of the car; if I compare it to DTM, it’s got quite a lot more power! I enjoyed the whole day, which was trouble free, so I was able to do a lot of laps. I’m happy with my day, I hope the team is too. I would like to thank Red Bull, Scuderia Toro Rosso and BMW for giving me this great opportunity.”

Jolyon Palmer (Lotus): “It was a good day for me and we completed all of our programme. It’s always productive to get a good tally of laps on the board so anything over one hundred is a real bonus. It’s a bit sad as that’s my final day of testing in the car, but I’ve got a good schedule of FP1 sessions ahead of me, starting with my home Grand Prix at Silverstone next week.”

Formula One Testing – Red Bull Ring Day Two
  1. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes 1:09.113 117
  2. Esteban Gutierrez – Ferrari 1:09.931 +0.818 110
  3. Valtteri Bottas – Williams 1:10.029 +0.916 79
  4. Marco Wittmann – Toro Rosso 1:10.103 +0.990 158
  5. Pascal Wehrlein – Force India 1:10.253 +1.140 132
  6. Jolyon Palmer – Lotus 1:10.373 +1.260 110
  7. Fernando Alonso – McLaren 1:10.718 +1.605 104
  8. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull Racing 1:10.757 +1.644 116
  9. Felipe Nasr – Sauber 1:10.922 +1.809 138