Massa on top for Williams on damp final day

2014 F1 season

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Felipe Massa finished his first test for Williams on a high by setting the fastest time on the final day of running.

Massa clocked a 1’28.226 to take the top spot on what was a damp day of testing. After limited running for many cars this week, the majority of teams managed to record a much greater number of laps over the course of the day.

But Red Bull’s miserable test concluded early following yet more technical issues, which limited Daniel Ricciardo to just seven laps in the morning.

Caterham too had only limited running earlier in the week, so they will have been pleased to achieved a healthy morning run with Kobayashi logging 54 laps in the damp conditions – albeit over six seconds off the ultimate pace.

After completing 97 laps on Wednesday, Nico Rosberg wasted no time in putting in a reasonable sequence of laps on the intermediate tyre, clocking a 1’38.157 to be comfortably fastest at the end of the first hour.

Rosberg was joined by fellow Mercedes-engined drivers Kevin Magnussen in the McLaren and Felipe Massa’s Williams, who together provided the majority of the early running. But it was the Mercedes who seemed the most comfortable, with Rosberg running quicker and far longer than rest of the field, amassing a highly impressive 91 laps by lunchtime – double the mileage of any other driver – completing a race simulation on the way.

Just as the on-track action died down around the mid-way point of the day, Fernando Alonso took to the circuit and immediately delivered the quickest time of the day with a 1’35.334 – still on the intermediate tyres. A long run followed for the Ferrari, during which Alonso lapped closer to the Mercedes’ earlier pace.

While the rain had long since stopped, the cloud cover and cool temperatures meant that lap times began to improve – but not tumble – as the cars began their afternoon running. Force India’s reserve driver Daniel Juncadella took to the track and lowered the benchmark to a 1’31.719 to make it an all-Mercedes engined top three

Following Rosberg’s productive morning run, Mercedes decided to hand the W05 over to Lewis Hamilton for the afternoon. Alonso rejoined the track in the F14 T and began to exchange fastest laps with Juncadella on a track that seemed to be getting quicker and quicker.

A largely red flag-free session was spoiled late in the day by a series of incidents. Adrian Sutil repeated his spin from yesterday but this time without hitting anything, going off backwards at the chicane.

Magnussen caused a pair of red flags, the first after a spin at the chicane and the second leading to contact with the barriers which damaged the front of the car. Elsewhere on the track at the same time Daniil Kvyat’s first day of action in the Toro Rosso ended with a technical fault after just seven laps.

In between the various interruptions Massa took advantage of the steadily improving track to put his Williams at the top of the times sheets. But with the track conditions still far from yesterday’s peak he was five seconds off the best seen this week.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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24 comments on “Massa on top for Williams on damp final day”

  1. Come on Williams!! I would love to see them take some podiums this year.

  2. I imagine that Williams are very pleased with their decision to change to Mercedes power.

    1. @hohum

      Yep, best engine choice for a long time for them.

      1. Yep, best engine choice for a long time for them.

        You better check which engine won 10 out of 16 championships that were to be won in the last V8 era.

        It’s Williams car that sucked big time, not a Renault engine. Renault engine was actually one of the key elements in Red Bull’s car design that Newey specifically asked for over Ferrari or Mercedes (and Toyota and Honda that were available back then).
        And than it was Renault that was the master of engine maps that enabled Red Bull to fulfill its potential.

        So I’d say, Renault engine was an excellent choice few years ago when they signed, but it’s just that Williams failed to deliver a good car. Perhaps in 2012 they even had a good car but their drivers failed to deliver.

        1. while i agree that Renault worked well with redbull, they played key role in redbull’s championship wins, i believe in 2009 redbull was pushing to switch to mercedes engines, which was vetoed by Mclaren then.

  3. Williams confident of mercedes reliability, their weight achievements and their design at least 3 of the mercedes team seem well sorted, only a few woes with the brake-by-wire at least they know what to tackle.

    1. Personally, I can’t think of anything worse than “brake by wire” no matter how sophisticated the electronics, not being able to feel the pressure in the system must be hugely frustrating for the drivers. I wonder why it is necessary, surely a sensor in the system could tell the ERS how much braking effort the driver wanted while still allowing the driver the re-assuring feel of a hydraulic system?

  4. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    31st January 2014, 17:05

    Williams have been impressive, and I’m not saying that just because Massa has rather trivially topped the times, but the car has looked well balanced out on track and reliable, most probably because of the Mercedes power pack. Couple that to Massa’s experience and technical expertise and Bottas’ brilliant speed, and you potentially have a good season in store for Williams. Saying that, we were saying this just twelve months, and look how that turned out, so potentially that might suggest Williams have a convention in running a little lighter than most in testing. However certainly, if Force India’s reliability doesn’t improve and if the Renault in the E22 doesn’t play ball, Williams could quite easily find itself as the closest team to the top teams. And yes, I have just written a whole paragraph of sheer speculation…!

    1. How could we live without it.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        31st January 2014, 19:18

        @hohum – How could Sky F1 live without it you mean.

    2. To be fair, the williams never looked particularly quick in testing last year, we all just thought they were running heavy because they kept talking about how the car was a huge step on their 2012 car and how they believed they’d be winning races with it

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        1st February 2014, 10:39

        @skett – That is exceedingly true, I hadn’t thought about that. However with McLaren simultaneously admitting they’d gone backwards I think we misjudged the extent to which to believe the teams.

  5. Darren Scully
    31st January 2014, 17:27

    great to see Williams going well, but I am starting to notice a serious lack of sponsorship on a lot of cars, how are they all paying the bills and is this why we have so many pay drivers? Peter Windsor said in F1 before xmas that if Mclaren dont have a main sponsor at the start of the season then it is a very bad omen for the sport

    1. I think williams are on the verge of signin a big sponsor. So they say. Although it’s very early days, wouldn’t it be fantastic to see williams challenging for podiums this year?

    2. Williams are only running this livery for testing. Expect something much different by Melbourne.

  6. Rui (@ruicaridade)
    31st January 2014, 17:36

    The car with Martini sponsorship will look amazing.

    1. Yeah, especially with that shark fin removed.

  7. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
    31st January 2014, 17:57

    Is that the actual livery for the Williams this year?

    1. @collettdumbletonhall
      No, they will introduce the livery later. That is the definite chassis though.

    2. Darren Scully
      31st January 2014, 18:20

      No its their test livery, they do it every year.

  8. Ha, told you Massa will win the WDC this year.

  9. This is the Massa of 2008 season?

  10. no times here? I wanted to save (in PDF) the report as I did for the other days :)

  11. So happy that Massa have shown an amazing job, of course, with the competence of Williams! Interlagos will be an amazing race this year!

Comments are closed.