Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Force India lead Haas on day three

2016 F1 season

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It was all change at the top of the timing sheets on the third day of testing as Force India led F1 newcomers Haas at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Nico Hulkenberg led proceedings for much of the day, initially setting the pace on medium compound tyres before working through the soft and super-soft compounds. He ended up quickest on a 1’23.110, 0.3 seconds off the benchmark time set by Sebastian Vettel yesterday using ultra-soft tyres.

Romain Grosjean, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016
A strong day for Haas: Grosjean was second. More pictures
With 20 minutes left to run in the session Romain Grosjean gave the clearest indication so far of the pace of the Haas VF-16. Using soft tyres he moved up to second-fastest. The car continued to use reinforced front wing pylons following the failure Grosjean experienced on Monday.

For the first time in this test Ferrari did not end the day with the fastest time. Kimi Raikkonen ended his first day in the SF16-H third-fastest having sat out almost all of the morning’s running while the team checked a fuel system problem.

Renault had a more productive day with Kevin Magnussen logging 100 laps, though his car came to a stop shortly afterwards. It wasn’t seen again, and nor was Jenson Button’s McLaren after it began to smoke at the pit lane exit.

Mercedes opted to divide the day’s running between its two drivers due to the high mileages it achieved on the opening day. Today was not quite as busy for the team as yesterday, but between them Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg amassed another 161 laps.

That equalled the tally of Carlos Sainz Jnr who had a busy day in the Toro Rosso STR11 despite suffering a breakdown at the pit exit early in the session.

Rio Haryanto made his debut for Manor but brought the red flags out when he spun into the gravel at turn five.

Today’s fastest times

Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLapsTyres
127Nico HulkenbergForce IndiaVJM091’23.11099Super-soft
28Romain GrosjeanHaasVF-161’25.8742.76482Soft
37Kimi RaikkonenFerrariSF16-H1’25.9772.86777Medium
420Kevin MagnussenRenaultRS161’26.0142.904111Soft
56Nico RosbergMercedesW071’26.0842.97474Medium
655Carlos Sainz JnrToro RossoSTR111’26.2393.129161Medium
712Felipe NasrSauberC341’26.3923.282115Soft
844Lewis HamiltonMercedesW071’26.4213.31187Medium
926Daniil KvyatRed BullRB121’26.4973.38774Medium
1019Felipe MassaWilliamsFW381’26.7123.602109Medium
1122Jenson ButtonMcLarenMP4-311’26.9193.80951Medium
1288Rio HaryantoManorMRT051’28.2495.13977Medium

Teams’ fastest times – full test

PositionTeamModelTime
1FerrariSF16-H1’22.810
2Force IndiaVJM091’23.110
3Red BullRB121’23.525
4MercedesW071’24.867
5HaasVF-161’25.524
6WilliamsFW381’25.648
7ManorMRT051’25.925
8RenaultRS161’26.014
9McLarenMP4-311’26.082
10Toro RossoSTR111’26.239

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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Author information

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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35 comments on “Force India lead Haas on day three”

  1. Deja-vu for McLaren?

    1. One can only imagine the impending doom that awaits Fernando Alonso. If it truly is a case of Deja-Vu, it’s beyond sad.

    2. Liam McShane (@)
      24th February 2016, 18:49

      It was only a hydraulic leak, fairly common occurrence for all teams.

    3. Indeed.. But if you have been following you know that what they have is not the final PU. They’ve only been testing reliability, and so far it has been great. Look, they have fired who apparently has give them lots of problems. Sometimes takes firing the obvious cost of all problems to notch a team to the right direction CAP.. Luca Montezemolo.

    4. If you ask me it’s worst than last year. Not only have they been at the bottom of the lap charts when it comes to timing, but the only thing they were positive about was reliability, only for the car to go up in smoke again.

      Manor has definitely made a step forward, and Haas has impressed on it’s debut. They both are running far superior PU’s in the back of their respective cars. Manor has got some big signings on the Technical and engineering side as well. Not to mention 2 quick drivers in Wehrlein and Grosjean.

      Mclaren were the team expected to make the largest gains this season, but by the looks of it, Manor are the team with the largest gains. This could be the season where Mclaren finish dead last in the championship.

  2. I love the way Mercedes is going about their business- not interested in chasing fastest times. However, you get the sense the other teams know a beat down is imminent!

  3. Before anyone gets too excited about Haas’ pace: it’s 2.7s slower than a Force India, and it’s 0.4s slower than their time yesterday. Every single team except Force India were sandbagging today. Haas saw an opportunity to create a nice headline, so in the final 15 minutes they sent out Grosjean on soft tyres to put in a reasonable lap -> P2.

    1. Were those tyres the soft, super soft, or ultra soft ?

      1. Nico was on Super Soft and Gros was on Soft (to make clear the fastest time of Vettel was on the Ultra Soft)

    2. Personally I doubt any team has enough testing time to waste it sandbagging. Also not sure why going out on softs late in the session has to mean headline grabbing. That might simply have been their plan having accomplished what they wanted to earlier in the session.

  4. Here’s hoping Haas don’t discover they’ve got their suspension fitted upside down

  5. Force India looks strong!

    Haas time is interesting tho, as it was achieved in a 12 laps run with soft.
    So not a low fuel run!

  6. Haryanto spun… Do we have a list of first apearance failures?

    1. @spoutnik I sense an F1 Fanatic “top ten” coming…

        1. @keithcollantine Karun Chandhok’s first corner as Caterham reserve driver must also be up there!

        2. …and then there’s KK’s debuts for Caterham and Ferrari

    2. Well I remember Hamilton crashing out pretty hard in one of his first test appearances for McLaren

    3. Failed, spun…. but faster that his teammate …. who cares :D https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cb_2lahUUAQPKTJ.jpg

      1. @gunusugeh Yeah, Maldonado also was ‘faster’ than his teammate … Testing isn’t a speed contest, and if it ends in the gravel trap it’s useless. But we’ll see how he performs this year.

        1. @spoutnik then why do people cares about spinning driver? Kimi spun, Lewis spun …… Im not comparing him with them or anybody…. It just funny how peoples react to a ‘stranger’ :v

  7. The Renault was indeed seen again, and Magnussen did a further 8 laps just before the checkered flag came out.

  8. Force India built one hell of a car it would seem.

  9. Am I allowed to be excited as a Nico Hulkenberg fan yet? That VJM09 has just set the best laps on soft and super-soft of the test so far…

    1. I think that, as long as Hulk is not on a top team, you couldn’t ask for better signs at a first test… so yes, be as excited as you would like! ;)

    2. Continuing from yesterday’s discussion, now I am certainly more impressed by FI times set by Hulk and Perez.

      Is there any changes on their car apart from 2016 Merc PU because it looks same to me as their 2015 Spec B car.

      1. The nose is the same but the rear suspension, floor is new. Engine covers are tighter than last year.
        Ted mentioned it in his Notebook.

    3. Well Hulk said not to get too carried away with the car pace, still a long way to go.

    4. @william-brierty It’s only testing…….

  10. I know testing times don’t mean a great deal, but those laps Hulk did looked good. Expect Merc/Ferrari will come along and smash them out of the park, but still…

  11. Guybrush Threepwood
    24th February 2016, 19:38

    Can we please get the tyre used to set each fastest time in the results table?

  12. Four proper noses in the top 5! A bad day for ugly cars.

  13. I know it’s testing, I know we don’t know the test programs, the fuel loads and then there is the tyres… But nevertheless, seeing Haas set the 2nd fastest time of the day in any session is impressive, after my only experience of “new” teams in F1 being the five years of the newcomers always being stone-dead last in pretty much each and every competitive and non-competitive session.

  14. missing sauber from the full test time chart @keithcollantine

    1. I think it’s because Sauber are still using their 2015 car.

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