Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Vettel stays on top as Rosberg covers huge distance

2016 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel sustained his place at the top of the times sheets on the second day of testing but Mercedes hit new mileage heights.

Vettel lowered his mark from yesterday by over two seconds as he became one of the first drivers to sample Pirelli’s new ultra-soft tyre. However his day ended when his car stopped at turn three with four minutes remaining, bringing the session to an early end.

Mercedes W07 'Floor W', Circuit de Catalunya, 2016
Mercedes’ eye-catching ‘Floor W’. More pictures
Meanwhile Nico Rosberg had an even more productive first day in the Mercedes W07 than Lewis Hamilton had 24 hours earlier. He covered a massive 172 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya, more than 800 kilometres. The team also revealed an unusual aerodynamic development dubbed ‘Floor W’.

It was a high mileage day for almost all of the teams. Renault was the only one not to cover a race distance: Jolyon Palmer’s car broke down at turn three, causing the second red flag of the day and ending the team’s running.

With the exception of Manor and Haas the remaining teams all managed more than 100 laps as their new hardware showed impressive reliability early in testing. Max Verstappen caused the one other red flag of the test after his Toro Rosso came to a stop but he was soon up and running again.

Rosberg ended the day with the fourth-fastest time which he set on medium tyres, behind three drivers who had all used softer compounds. Daniel Ricciardo also sampled the ultra-softs and was seven-tenths of a second off Vettel’s pace, while Sergio Perez put his Force India in third place, just one-tenth off Ricciardo’s time on super-softs.

With the exception of Verstappen’s Toro Rosso the remaining drivers all set their best times on soft tyres. Esteban Gutierrez had his first run in the Haas which was fitted with a reinforced front wing following yesterday’s failure and went sixth-quickest as the team more than doubled its mileage from the previous day.

Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLapsTyres
15Sebastian VettelFerrariSF16-H1’22.810126Ultra-soft
23Daniel RicciardoRed BullRB121’23.5250.715112Ultra-soft
311Sergio PerezForce IndiaVJM091’23.6500.840101Super-soft
46Nico RosbergMercedesW071’24.8672.057172Medium
59Marcus EricssonSauberC341’25.2372.427108Soft
621Esteban GutierrezHaasVF-161’25.5242.71479Soft
777Valtteri BottasWilliamsFW381’25.6482.838134Soft
894Pascal WehrleinManorMRT051’25.9253.11571Soft
914Fernando AlonsoMcLarenMP4-311’26.0823.272119Soft
1030Jolyon PalmerRenaultRS161’26.1893.37942Soft
1133Max VerstappenToro RossoSTR111’26.5393.729121Medium

2016 and 2015 lap times context

How each team’s best time so far compares to their pre-season testing times at the Circuit de Catalunya last year and their fastest lap during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend. A negative difference is quicker, positive is slower.

NB. Sauber is using its 2015 car.

2016 F1 season

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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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25 comments on “Vettel stays on top as Rosberg covers huge distance”

  1. The reliability across all teams is really impressive: they did 1185 laps in just the second day.

  2. ‘Floor W’ hehehe.

    Nothing so far to suggest anything but Merc vs Ferrari then a lovely scramble for 3rd.

    Mac need that Honda upgrade, seriously. Kravitz was saying the GPS data are showing only a small lift in top speed, it’s just that it doesn’t die part way along the straight any more.

    Manor making progress, by the look of it.

    All set for a great season.

    1. Not sure you can read anything into most of the lap times or any other ‘data’ that we are getting out of the test (as usual)

      I know the chart that is above as to improvements is really vague because of temperature/humidity etc. changes but it would suggest that McLaren are slower than last years test (highly unlikely) and Mercedes have made more progress than Ferrari (not unimaginable but I’m not sure).

      I’m also not convinced that Macca aren’t getting a higher top speed than before. If the engine isn’t clipping mid straight then they’ve either improved deployment and will get a higher top speed or the acceleration is slower… Which could be gearing but sounds like an unlikely outcome. Kravitz isn’t always known for talking sense…

      The only thing I think you could say is that Manor are MUCH faster than they used to be, but that’s no big surprise.

      1. Ted probably does understand that speed levels off on a long straight and is a function of power (among other things and unless it reduces with ES running out part way) and if he didn’t then the, er, F1 team engineer who was showing him the gps data probably explained it to him as he revealed the modest increase.

        Oh and it’s only testing :)

  3. That 1’23.65 from Sergio Perez to go just 0.8 behind Vettel despite the Ferrari being on the softer ultra-soft compound is very interesting. It is perhaps not as interesting as Wehrlein’s 1’25.925 – an outstanding lap from the young German that you sense is doing an excellent job in the MRT05, and confirmation that regardless of its ranking in the running order, Manor has made a substantial improvement on raw pace.

    I also believe Alonso might have just bested his test mileage total for 2015 in one day.

    1. Vettel did 1m23s658 on his SS tyre run. It will be pretty awkward for a FI to be matching Ferrari on equal/similar engine modes and fuel. I think FI ran much closer to their full PU capability then Ferrari did on their run.

      Agree with you on Wehrlien and Manor. He can be similar like what Jules did for Marrussia – a very good racer with not so good team mate.

      1. @ollie – I think you are probably right about Vettel, especially since that lap was a tenth slower than what Rosberg produced in the old W06 on super-softs in testing last year, but I think the VJM09 peddled by two highly talented drivers could certainly prove a threat for Williams this year.

        On Wehrlein, I think it is telling that Mercedes, who have his data from his runs for the team as reserve driver, put such effort into acquiring him a drive. I hope he can prove himself to be that team’s Jules-esque figurehead as they reach dizzy heights of new performance with the new Mercedes PU.

  4. I plugged in some numbers and Mercedes has covered nearly five race distances in two days. The next best is Williams at 3 and a quarter.

  5. Amazing achievements all things considered all around. It’s kinda crazy how much interest in have in preseason testing than at times in the championship itself lol!

    1. It’s less predictable ;)

  6. I’m pretty sure Merc will turn up their PU tomorrow in order to start chasing performance. Why not trying their new nose too!

  7. Force India really impressed me today. Almost as fast as Ferrari when on the same tyre. And a tenth off Redbull who ran the ultra-soft tyre. Impressive.

  8. Mercedes should stick a roof on their car and enter it for Le Mans!

  9. Haas and Manor seems very impressive, and McLaren is still running with the Parking brake japplied…

  10. Yes, it’s only testing. However, is it a coincidence that after the first day of testing, where everyone can see that the Honda engine still looks to be far behind, that Arai “left” Honda?

  11. Say you can’t read anything into testing how much you want, that McLaren is still a McTractor

    1. More indications that this season will likely be another tortuous one for McLaren:

      Quotes from Jenson Button after the 1st day of testing:

      “[With] deployment we’ve made a good step forward, but with the power unit we’ve a lot of work still [to do.]

      “[Honda] have done a good job on working on the reliability and pushing the deployment very hard over the winter.
      But I don’t think any of us will be happy going to Melbourne with the power unit. There is definitely more to come from the first race. We need that.””

      1. TBH Quoting anything Jenson says with regards to testing is not worth it.

        He’s literally said the same thing every single year, good car or bad.

  12. The fact that Force India, Manor and Williams are all doing so well should indicate that the updated Mercedes PU is mighty! To me it looks like it will again be Lewis vs Rosberg with Ferrari close behind.

    1. Not only the Engine is here speaking also the aero, the FI is heavy based on last year which was a good total package, Manor with a beter aero and a good engine jumps forward and Willems was working on low speed performance in combination with their already impressive high speed performance.

  13. Most seasons, I buy/get bought a piece of F1 team merchandise (baseball cap, beanie etc etc), usually after pre-season testing has finished, from the team I’m most impressed with, based on my own person criteria. Not necessarily the most improved, or fastest. It’s certainly not based on science or data analysis.

    But…

    I’m already waiting for Manor to sell me some hats…

    Lovely car, great colours, great attitude.

    Of course they were going to improve from last year’s car, but I remember the debate surrounding Marussia’s 2015 still born car. We were impressed, mostly. It’s a shame it never run…

  14. This is presumably the same vaunted F1 project which, for the best part of three years in a row now, we have been told is “just around the corner” and will be launched the following year? Besides, personal contacts may have played their part given Stephan Winkelmann was a senior manager at Fiat and therefore likely to have worked with Domenicali in the past.

  15. Why does the McLaren sound like a lawnmower/leaf blower when off the throttle and in corners? All other power unit suppliers sound like they deliver a smooth throttle. Can anyone give a technical response?

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