Maldonado tops test as Wolff and Nasr tangle

2015 F1 testing

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Pastor Maldonado put the Mercedes-powered Lotus E23 at the head of the time sheets as pre-season testing resumed at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Kimi Raikkonen had been quickest for much of the earlier running before Maldonado pipped the Ferrari driver’s best time in the final hour of the session.

Maldonado’s lap of 1’25.011, which he did on soft tyres, was two-tenths of a second quicker than last year’s pole position time for the Spanish Grand Prix, set by Lewis Hamilton on medium tyres.

Hamilton briefly participated in today’s test but stopped after 11 laps as he was feeling unwell. Mercedes therefore recalled test driver Pascal Wehrlein who had already begun driving duties for Force India, who in turned called on Sergio Perez to take over in the only 2014-specification car at the test.

Wehrlein therefore set times in two different chassis, with little more than a tenth of a second between the two, and ended the day eighth and ninth overall.

The beginning of the test was interrupted by red flags on two occasions when Maldonado’s car came to a stop early in the lap.

Jenson Button made a promising start to the day for McLaren, lapping closer to their rivals’ times than they had in Jerez. But after 21 laps an MGU-K fault sent the car back to the garage for the rest of the day.

The most dramatic interruption of the day came when Felipe Nasr collided with Williams test driver Susie Wolff, leaving both cars damaged and unable to drive back to the pits. The red flags came out again while they were recovered.

Both teams managed to get their drivers back on track in the final hour of the session. But shortly before the chequered flag was due to appear another stoppage for Nasr brought the session to a close.

DriverCarBest timeLapsDifferenceTyres
1Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Mercedes E231’25.01169Soft
2Kimi RaikkonenFerrari SF15-T1’25.167740.156Medium
3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault RB111’25.547590.536Soft
4Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes VJM071’26.636341.625Medium
5Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari C341’27.307792.296Medium
6Max VerstappenToro Rosso-Renault STR101’27.900942.889Medium
7Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda MP4-301’28.182213.171Medium
8Pascal WehrleinForce India-Mercedes VJM071’28.329323.318Hard
9Pascal WehrleinMercedes W061’28.489483.478Hard
10Susie WolffWilliams-Mercedes FW371’28.906863.895Medium
11Lewis HamiltonMercedes W061’30.429115.418Medium

NB. Wehrlein used Pirelli’s special ‘winter hard’ compound, which heats up more quickly, to set his fastest time in the Force India.

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Keith Collantine
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69 comments on “Maldonado tops test as Wolff and Nasr tangle”

  1. Absolutely fascinating day’s testing. Ferrari seem to have retained the speed they showed in the first test, which is underlined by the continued good performance of the Sauber. It seems like their PU has taken some really strides forward. If I was a betting man, I’d say it was worth a punt putting some money on Ferrari or one of their drivers, given the odds they’re currently being given.

    Good to see Wolf doing a really solid job for Williams. Her consistency through her long runs was particularly impressive. She may not have the outright pace of some of the other drivers, but she seems to have all the qualities you’d want in a test driver.

    1. +1
      F1 teams are not run on sentiment, excellence is required. Wolff is a test driver for good reason.

      1. seconded.
        hilarious other places where they did on her for being female, it’s insane.
        No one is putting a single human in an F1 car they can’t handle.
        Well,, maybe Williams and Nasr…
        They’re running test programs, if you want to move on in F1 you have to know what you’re doing and bring the car back. Oh right, pay driver with zero F1 experience, yeah I see you there Nasr. We all know he was warned that Suzie was on an outlap as they do for everyone on a test program so they’re aware and can continue their program. #rookiemove
        Excited to see Suzie get some decent clean running still today. I finally have a new favorite test driver. I still miss Luca Badoer. That guy had the best job in the world (ok Luca, go drive the Ferrari F1 car all day around Firorano, no don’t worry about gas and tires, just keep driving!)

        1. @freds4hb I can’t agree about how you talk about both drivers. Even though not the very greatest talent of all, Nasr is tons more accomplished in single seaters than Woff and he should have no difficulties handling an F1 car. I have no idea why you think he would.

          As for the blame here, no way of knowing I guess. Nasr stayed that Wolff told him she didn’t see him, Wolff said he was too aggressive.

          1. It’s ok, the drivers don’t agree either

          2. For what it is worth on the Nasr-Wolff incident, Auto Motor und Sport have claimed that Wolff showed them a short clip, taken from the circuit’s security cameras, that seem to support her claim that Nasr cut across her path and caused the collision.

            @freds4hb, As MattDS says though, it’s hardly fair to dismiss Nasr as a “pay driver with zero F1 experience” – for a start, Nasr drove in five practise sessions for Williams in 2014, so he does actually have experience of driving an F1 car.

      2. She hasn’t set the world on fire in DTM, but I think she is doing great in F1. Her pace has been pretty competitive in all the practice sessions she has done, so I’m sure Williams are happy to keep her. I’d just like to see how she does in a race; after all Susie does train like she will be racing all season.

        1. Her pace has been pretty competitive in all the practice sessions she has done

          More than competitive – she trounced Lewis Hamilton!

          Seriously, I don’t see how you can say her pace was competitive. She was half a second slower than first-timer Wehrlein, who was running on slower tyres as well.

          1. Considering you have no idea what the testing itinerary of Williams was, and considering the bare fact that it’s testing and times are almost entirely irrelevant it’d be foolhardy in the extreme to try and determine a driver’s talent from one day on track – whether it’s Wolff, Wehrlein or anyone else.

          2. Exactly what @colossal-squid had said.

            She’s not sticking out like a sore-thumb, so I think she deserves some praise for that. It’s worth noting that she has not raced regularly for quite some time, so just jumping in and lapping 1.5 of race distance is nothing scoff at.

            Keep in mind that she was .2s off Massa in FP1 in Germany.

          3. @dpod Oh come on, not that reference to Germany FP1 again. It proves nothing. For all we know it might have been Wolff being allowed to go for a glory lap while Massa did nothing of the sort.

            The Williams was capable of a 1:16.759 that weekend. Susie did a lap 4 seconds slower. You make of that what you will but any conclusions are bound to be flawed. Which is why I’m not making conclusions either, mind you.

          4. @mattds It’s just something I want people to consider. I’m not trying to conclude that she’s only .2 sec off the pace, but more that we never really know what program people are running. Yes, she was half a second slower than Wehrlein, but at a different time she was .2s slower than Massa, that’s all. It’s things to consider before totally writing her off.

            Despite the praise I don’t believe she is good enough for a seat, I’d just like to see how she fairs in a race but as testing goes she’s doing her job.

          5. @dpod sorry for the late answer. Just wanted to say that I agree with what you write.

            I’m pretty certain that she isn’t fit for a racing seat myself but also that she probably does a fine job in testing. Williams is giving her quite a bit of car time and I doubt that would be the case if she didn’t do her job well.

    2. @mazdachris @tribaltalker @freds4hb Problem is, de facto demand for test drivers in F1 seem to be something like zero.

      Though that is not counting the simulator, of course.

      1. Well yes, simulator, so the demand is actually there. It’s just that no one takes it as the real job it is, with the exception of the drivers and engineers doing all that work.
        So it still applies completely.
        We just don’t see the contracts publicly of that happening so it seems like no one cares..
        They may not be burning up tires on the track but they’re putting in more miles than ever before.

    3. what???
      it is testing! how good she performed is only known to the crew! and they will always say she did a good job, even if they are laughing inside! fact is she run a lot of laps! that is good! she can handle the car more or less. is she F1 material? who knows, but from this test noone (except the team crew) can conclude anything!!!
      why is she there? BECAUSE OF TOTO, nothing else!!! teams dont run on sentiments: no, they run on money and interests (and interest from their owners/directors), hence paydrivers and susie wolffs!
      and luca badoer was such an excellent driver! how did they call him? “look how bad you are”!!!

      1. @bgp001ruled They’re good test drivers, from what I know. Needn’t be fast in a race to be seen as being good in that profession – one that requires different qualities from a driver.

        1. @davidnotcoulthard, id give you that luca was a great test driver: was for ages with ferrari. but that cant be said of susie. 32 years old, f1-experience from a few tests and “development” driver for one year!!! which team hires a driver for that job based on that lack of F1 experience and that old? she is there only because of her husband!

          1. @bgp001ruled I don’t know…..there’s the simulator…

  2. What tires did kimi have when setting that lap?

    1. They were on mediums.

      1. Thats not as impressive as I originally thought but still shows solid improvement. To send shivers down in the Merc camp they need to be doing 1:22s.

        1. solid improvement
          Euphemism for ‘fast as phuck’ for merc fans

          1. No @blacksheep I also think that Lotus have shown solid improvement but not fast a ‘phuck’ as you put it. Ferrari fans need to scale back on this belief that Vettel will be champion this year. You are just giving rival fans ammunition to attack when it does not materialise. This will be used as evidence that the car was mighty but the drivers, not so much! You know how it works.

        2. Why is it not impressive when the rest bar Mercedes are on Soft.

          1. Because @ialtair Merc were doing much better times in Free Practice last year and I think they will improv

        3. He did 1’25″598 on winter hard tyres in a 10 lap stint early in the morning, that was a more impressive time IMHO.

          1. The thing is, when is the Ferrari going to do a longer run than 10 laps. For all we know at present is that they maybe only putting in enough fuel for 10 laps.

            Susie Wolff might only have been doing 1:31 or 32’s for a long time, but she was doing it consistently over a 26 lap stint.

        4. well pole last year is 1’25’2 so that time by ferrari on med is impressive, if its really on mediums.

          1. Well @f1007 the fastest time in mid-season testing at Catalonia last year was in the 1:24s so really nothing impressive time wise so far, unless you think last year’s cars were better than this year. They need to get into the 1:22s for it to really get people talking.

          2. With 14 degrees it’s quite difficult to lap in 22…

          3. @blackmamba may be you should wait for mid-season then, not winter :P temperatures make difference esp with harder tyres, if you theoretically make up for deficiencies of temps (1 sec) n meds (2 sec) which puts them in 22 – 23 range which is what you were expecting, but i would still put mercs , williams then redbull/ferrari, lotus so on

    2. There is a chart above. Why don’t you read that instead of wasting people’s time asking.

  3. It looks like we’re going to see a rematch of 2007 this year. Ice man looks to be in great shape and Ferrari looks to have a decent speed to challenge the Mercedes. I can’t wait to see Lewis go around both Ferraris for the win.I hope Mc-Honda will mix it up occasionally to spice things even more.

    1. Ferrari will not be challenging the Mercs, unless you are also willing to concede that Lotus too will be challenging the Mercs. They did top the time sheets after all.

      1. While I do no expect miracles from Ferreri, and I think that Mercedes is still the team to beat; Lotus and Ferrari were not running in similar conditions (Pastor soft and Kimi Mediums), so Ferrari is at least not looking bad at the moment.

        And it will be really dissapointing that after Lotus getting a Mercedes engine they were miles away from Mercedes.

    2. From what i could see, Raikkonen was on qualify conditions when he set his time, again.
      Gathering power for a lap then discharging it all on a flying one.

      Information about their long runs, however, nobody seems to have.

      1. There is no information on Ferrari’s long runs because they didn’t do any. They were on low fuel simulations as far as I could tell.

        1. Raikkonen did at least one 12-lap run.

          It’s Red Bull who did very short 2-4 lap runs on softs, not Ferrari.

          1. But these 12 lap runs had alternating laps of low and high speed. I guess this was done to gather power for the next lap. I don’t think the ERS has become more efficient just yet.

  4. McLaren are in desperate need of 1 solid day of testing. This so far has been woeful and to think an outfit like that can actually produce wrong parts is astonishing. They were showing good pace before curtailing their running but my god, they need a swift kick in the backside.

    1. Mc-Honda seem to have issues right now but I bet they will surprise a lot of people come Melbourne. I was fan of them when Lewis used to drive for them and most of the time they’ve been able to turn things around unexpectedly. So I am hoping they would occasionally mix with Merc and Ferrari this year to spice up things.

      1. I was already surprised by their immediate pace today. Some ironing and let’s hope a good weekend!

    2. They are doing better than Red Bull last year. For all we now they’re sandbagging it.

    3. @blackmamba Yeah…but then again, Red Bull’s 2014 season wasn’t exactly their worst…

  5. It’s early days yet but I’m cautiously optimistic that we might see something resembling competitive racing this season. Last year it was painfully obvious that the two Mercs could have started every race from the pit lane and still finished one-two. In fact at some GP’s it seemed that they could have spotted the rest of the field a 45 second head-start and still won. It bordered on the farcical at times.

    I still expect them to have an edge and to win more often than not, but hopefully not quite so easily.

  6. Wow, this is only the first day of pre-season testing at Barcelona where most, if not all, of the teams are hiding their true pace in conditions that are almost 20°C cooler, and the cars are already faster than last year’s pole time! Looks like the cars this year will be closer to the V8 pace, possibly even faster on tracks like Canada, Spa and Bahrain.

    1. 2014 LH Pole Time: 1:25.232
      2014 1st Test Time: 1:25.011


      1. Sorry, should say 2015 1st test time

  7. So fellow speculators, has Lotus now got the upper hand and found something? Ferrari still looking strong? Red Bull showing Riccardo is the best and will be WC (forgetting the others talents)? Force India didn’t need Jerez and knew what they were doing? Oh and the mercs what is going on? Or just maybe this is testing?

    1. Remember that Maldonado and Ricciardo set their best times on the softs while pretty much everyone else set their best times on mediums, so I don’t think we can discern anything meaningful from them being high up on the timesheets.

      I think the most impressive team was Ferrari. They were probably running less fuel than most teams (their longest stint was 12-15 laps, while Williams for example did a run of 26 consistent consecutive laps), but even so to go as fast as they did on the medium tyre was impressive.

      Also, Mercedes seem to be sandbagging still. They were the only team whose best time was set on the hards, and Pascal Wehrlein went faster in the 2014 Force India than he did in the 2015 Mercedes (on harder tyres both times) which suggests that Mercedes are fuelling very heavily. Ted Kravitz even suspected than they were running some ballast in addition to fuelling heavily which would have added even more weight.

      So basically, long story short, we still aren’t any wiser to the pecking order at present, as teams are still running completely different tyres and programs. I suspect we’ll see more performance runs over the next couple of days though, which could help to provide (somewhat) of a clearer picture.

  8. any pics or vid of the crash?

  9. How did they crash? Unusual at a pre-season test session.

    1. From what I’ve heard, they were both approaching a corner with Wolff in front and on the inside line. Wolff was going slower as she was on an out-lap, so she backed off to make space for Nasr. Nasr then went round the outside and swept across to the apex to take the corner but contact was made between the rear of Nasr’s car and the front of Wolff’s car, which pitched them both off.

      Basically, overtaking driver fails to give driver on inside of bend enough room. Or if you want to look at it a different way Wolff didn’t see what Nasr was trying to do and didn’t back off by enough. Not a clear-cut situation, but if I had to apportion blame I would say Nasr was at fault.

      1. I should say actually, I don’t know if Nasr actually went straight for the apex or not, all I know is that he “swept across” around the outside and there wasn’t enough room for Wolff’s Williams on the inside.

    2. I find it very interesting that on-one here is seeking to apportion blame at any specific driver.

      How much f1fanatic fans have matured!

  10. Anyone remember when we last saw two cars come together pre-season?

    1. I remember Alonso and Badoer tangled in 2007

  11. Is this the first time a driver has driven for two different teams in an official test session or otherwise? So strange seeing Pascal Wehrlein’s name twice on the board!

    1. Ricciardo did it in 2013.

  12. So what is the consensus on who caused the collision between Felipe and Susie? I’ve seen a couple of quotes where both blame each other, but nobody who was there giving their version of what they saw.

  13. So if Wehrlein was using Pirelli’s winter hard tyre to set his Force India time, why have they even bothered to show up? Their initial response to using a 2014 spec car was that they were going to evaluate tyres. Why use tyres that are only for testing and won’t be seen for the rest of the season?

    1. I don’t know why they used the winter tyre in the morning, but they did use the medium tyres with Perez in the afternoon. I’ve heard that some of their runs were for “aero testing”, but otherwise I don’t know what they would have gained from running the winter tyre apart from getting Pascal up to speed with the car.
      To be fair though, I think the winter tyre is quite similar to the regular hard compound tyre, apart from the fact that it heats up more quickly (to make it more usable in cold temperatures).

  14. Truly the best drivers F1 can have!

  15. Mercs in trouble. Hamilton only 11 laps?

    1. “Hamilton briefly participated in today’s test but stopped after 11 laps as he was feeling unwell. Mercedes therefore recalled test driver Pascal Wehrlein” (who did 48 laps in the Mercedes, meaning that Mercedes did a total of 59 laps).

  16. Fastest time Lotus did in qualifying in Barcelona last season = 1:26.96. Fastest time so far in Barcelona testing = 1:26.28.

    Fastest time Ferrari did in qualifying in Barcelona last season = 1:27.1. Fastest time so far in Barcelona testing = 1:24.58.

    Fastest time Williams did in qualifying in Barcelona last season = 1:26.63. Fastest time so far in Barcelona testing = 1:24.67.

    Fastest time Red Bull did in qualifying in Barcelona last season = 1:26.28. Fastest time so far in Barcelona testing = 1:24.57.

    Fastest time Force India did in qualifying in Barcelona last season = 1:27.68. Fastest time so far in Barcelona testing = 1:24.7.

    Fastest time Mercedes did in qualifying in Barcelona last season = 1:25.23. Fastest time so far in Barcelona testing = 1:24.92.

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