Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015

Maldonado on top again as McLaren struggle goes on

2015 F1 testing

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Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015Pastor Maldonado lowered the fastest time of this week’s test at Barcelona to a 1’24.348 to head the session for Lotus.

Maldonado set his best time on Pirelli’s new super-soft tyre compound. He covered over 100 laps as he wrapped up his participation in this week’s test, having also been quickest during Thursday’s running.

However it was another disappointing day for McLaren. Having brought a new design of the seal on their MGU-K the team were dismayed to see Jenson Button stop early in the day. He covered just 24 laps.

The day began with an early red flag when Sebastian Vettel went into a gravel trap in his Ferrari. It caused little disruption to the team’s testing programme, however.

Concerns over inclement weather led Williams to split their running between Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa. However they turned out to be one of six teams to complete over 100 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya.

Max Verstappen did the most and set the second-fastest time in the Toro Rosso. He came to a stop late in the session, causing the day’s final red flag.

Lewis Hamilton was third quickest and has now driven on three consecutive days. Team mate Nico Rosberg will be back in the W06 tomorrow, when the second pre-season test concludes.

DriverCarBest timeLapsDifference
1Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Mercedes E231’24.348104
6Max VerstappenToro Rosso-Renault STR101’24.7391290.391
10Lewis HamiltonMercedes W061’26.0761011.728
12Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari C341’26.340531.992
13Sebastian VettelFerrari SF15-T1’26.4071052.059
14Daniil KvyatRed Bull-Renault RB111’26.5891122.241
15Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes FW371’26.912552.564
16Pascal WehrleinForce India-Mercedes VJM071’27.333812.985
18Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes FW371’27.556493.208
20Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda MP4-301’29.151244.803

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 29 comments on “Maldonado on top again as McLaren struggle goes on”

    1. I wonder if Lotus will prove to be a challenge to Williams this year… could shape up to be a very interesting battle of Merc powered cars.

      1. It will likely compete with Force India. This time was set on super-soft, so not very representative. Williams seems to run a similar program to Mercedes that is no performance run.

    2. The fight between Manor and McLaren is going to be interesting.

      1. Haha i predict 3 race finish against 2 for Mclaren.

      2. @dutchtreat Who needs Caterham, Marussia and HRT? Now we can have a battle for 9th place in the constructor’s between McLaren-Honda, Manor and Force India. Somehow, I think that McLaren will win this battle, mostly because of their drivers. It’ll be close though.

    3. Seems Renault have ironed out engine reliability issues…

    4. Someone was complaining about the lack of long runs from Ferrari. Vettel pretty much did long runs all day.

      None of the top teams did low-fuel runs on softs. I expect to see some fast times tomorrow.

      1. That was (I assume) in response to people saying Ferrari were mega quick. They’ve done long runs today and were beaten by Sauber….

    5. The guys at Mclaren always mentions Red Bull’s struggles last year to explain how complex their operations with a new PU are.

      But last year at this stage Renault was already doing much greater series of laps on their other cars than Honda with Mclaren. Red Bull with its tight package was the problem.

      Now the PU has its own problems and they still have to put it to work on a car as tight as the Red Bull.
      Being Honda’s only customer is hurting them badly.

      1. Yes, that’s what I’ve been thinking. I don’t doubt that they’ll fix it eventually, and Alonso’s runs yesterday suggest that it’ll be reasonably competitive when it works, but Honda has the bigger problem here than McLaren itself (although obviously they suffer together). I hope for their sake they have a B -team lined up for 2016. To be honest, I half-expected them to step in for Manor, if only to give them some extra track time on GP weekends.

    6. what are the numbers beside driver names standing for?

      1. @alfa145 If I’m not mistaken, @keithcollantine is comparing these times to the other days of pre-season testing at Barcelona as well. For instance, Maldonado’s lap time was the fastest seen so far, while Verstappen’s was the 6th fastest so far? Don’t hold me to it but that’s what I believe it is.

    7. E23 is really going places. Keep up the good work guys!

    8. I think Mclaren will double DNF in Australia but be strong after that.

    9. Remember when Alonso was being really coy about where he was going, and said ~”It’s going to be so obvious where I go, it will make perfect sense in retrospect.” Doesn’t seem to be making sense so far.

      1. Yeah I remember he was really Talking the Talk back then.

        And now…..

        He recently also said something about a ‘ very scientific approach’, but I blame myself, why do I continue taking this mam seriously….

    10. A set-back for Mclaren, but nothing to worry about just yet. Last year’s testing pretty much proved it’s not about laptimes, kilometers or stints you do, it’s about the ultimate potential of the car. Mclaren could yet get it to work, and amaze everyone in Melbourne, if the car is good. And even if both cars fail in the first race, but from then on perform well, that’s fully worth it. Big teams like Redbull, Mclaren etc will fix these problems, no doubt. It’s just a question of time. What will hurt them, if these problems go on for too long, is falling behind in development.

    11. On a funny side, Vettel went in the gravel on his very first out lap, at 09:01 :)

    12. Some of the drivers were complaining about the tyres having a tiny operating window & that they were spending more time trying to get the tyres into the operating window than anything else.

      I just hope Pirelli havn’t decided to go back to the 2012 style small operating windows because the tyres were pathetic that year & 2012 is still my least favorite season, Just hated the tyre generated randomness & non-racing!

      1. I agree, I stopped watching F1 in 2012 because I just got fed up with the tyres been the biggest talking point every weekend & the way things were with the tyres just started coming off as way too artificial for me.
        Was similar in 2013, It just felt like the tyres were the talking point far too often so while I watched the odd race I didn’t watch everything as I had done religiously for the previous 35+ years.

        I started watching again last year & felt that Pirelli had finally struck a good balance with the tyres. There was a bit of degredation but not too much & I was really hoping they would keep things similar for this year.

        If we go back to the tyres falling to bits every weekend, The small operating windows & everyone talking about the tyres every race then i’m just going to turn off again because I just have zero interest in watching something where all your hearing is tyres, tyres, tyres, tyres & where the way the tyres are affecting the races starts coming off as artificial again.

      2. They had it right last year, but there are talks that their intention was to go back to the likes of 2013, where in this same track the winner (Alonso) had to pit 4 times. Some teams like Red Bull and Mercedes struggled to make a 4 pits strategy work on a 90 minute race. Awful.

        1. Could you provide a link to the source stating those intentions? So far, it’s just Hamilton saying the tyres don’t work on a cold circuit. Let’s not put blame on Pirelli before the season has even started.

          1. No i can’t. As i said, there are talks. No news on it yet.

            The tyres are also responsible for the increase on speed compared to last year.

            We will find out on 20 days anyway.

        2. Ah, the 2013 tyres, that should be enjoyable to watch them exploding everywhere again!

      3. I have very strong reservations about the whole test in terms of tyre performance. In my opinion it’s nearly impossible to achieve working window of the tyres at ambience temperature of 5 – 10°C. Lotus cars were always sensitive in low temps but showed real strength at temp values we usually have at gp’s. Hence, I think they opted for super soft today just to mimic ‘normal’ conditions as much as possible. The car quick on mediums at 10°C is the car in deep shtook at 40°C.

        1. As you say Boomerang, the conditions that they are testing in are not at all representative of the normal conditions that they would be driving in.

          One of the key reasons for testing in Bahrain in 2014, rather than in Barcelona, was the fact that the temperatures were far more representative of the temperatures the teams could have anticipated in Melbourne. In fact, some teams have openly questioned whether there is any point in carrying out any pre-season tests in Europe at all, since the cold winter conditions has a negative impact on their tyre information and cooling system calibration (a car that may have no issues with cooling at 5ºC may have more issues when temperatures rise by 20-30ºC).

          Equally, you just have to look back to the Bridgestone era to look at the effects of abnormally low temperatures on tyre performance, as they had the exact same issue too. In 2010, several drivers complained that Bridgestone’s tyres were beginning to disintegrate on their out laps and fell apart in a way that makes the rate of degradation of Pirelli’s current tyres look tame.

          The reason for that was the fact that the tyres were suffering from major cold graining issues, which meant that the surface layers of the tyre were tearing away from the inner structure. In more normal operating conditions, those problems with cold graining didn’t occur and the results from the winter test sessions were very misleading.

    13. I’ve been uploading all of Sky’s testing coverage onto my Dailymotion channel:
      http://www.dailymotion.com/playlist/x3mh2l_Stefmeister2008_2015-testing/1#video=x2g6gan

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