Felipe Massa, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Massa fastest for Williams as testing resumes

2017 F1 season

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Felipe Massa topped the time sheets and logged over 160 laps as pre-season testing resumed at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The Brazilian clocked Williams’s fastest time of testing, with Daniel Ricciardo second-quickest and neither Mercedes driver in the top three.

It was a day of little incident with no major breakdowns or accidents. However there were unscheduled engine changes needed for both McLaren and Renault.

Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017
Testing day five in pictures
After a long weekend break, the teams were ready to hit the ground running on a bright Tuesday morning at the Circuit de Catalunya. None were more looking forward to getting back behind the wheel than Pascal Wehrlein, who finally got to try Sauber’s new C36 following the injury concerns that sidelined him last week.

As usual, Mercedes wasted no time in quickly racking up the kilometres as Lewis Hamilton set the early pace. But there was trouble for Renault, who called Jolyon Palmer in for an engine change following just 15 laps after spotting an anomaly in the data.

Daniel Ricciardo was not in a rush to get out in the Red Bull RB13, but when he finally did venture out he immediately set Red Bull’s fastest time of testing to top the time early time sheets.

At McLaren, there were yet more troubles when an electrical issue meant the team were forced to miss more valuable track time to change the Honda power plant in the MCL32.

There was excitement when Daniel Ricciardo took to the track shod with purple-marked ultra soft Pirelli tyres, but despite a quick lap, the Red Bull did not improve on its benchmark time.

Then, Felipe Massa turned up the wick and delivered a 1’19.726 on super soft tyres – comfortably fastest of all and what would prove to be the quickest time of the entire day.

Lewis Hamilton set his personal fastest time of testing so far with a 1’20.456 after 46 laps in the morning session, before handing the W08 over to new team mate Valtteri Bottas in the afternoon.

Following the lunch break, Marcus Ericsson also took over from Pascal Wehrlein in the Sauber, while Nico Hulkenberg stepped into the Renault once the car’s engine change had been completed.

With track temperatures higher than the morning hovering around the low 20 degrees Celsius, there was little in the way of major improvement in laptimes from the morning session.

Instead, teams focused on long run consistency and began to pile up the kilometres in the afternoon sun.

Both Massa and Vettel recorded over 160 laps over the course of the day, more than any other drivers had achieved in a single day in the previous week of test, while Force India’s Esteban Ocon achieved over 140 trouble-free laps.

The session finished under red flags after Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault stopped on the circuit in the dying moments.

Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLaps
119Felipe MassaWilliamsFW401’19.726168
23Daniel RicciardoRed BullRB131’19.9000.17489
35Sebastian VettelFerrariSF70H1’19.9060.180168
444Lewis HamiltonMercedesW081’20.4560.73049
577Valtteri BottasMercedesW081’20.9241.19886
631Esteban OconForce IndiaVJM101’21.3471.621142
727Nico HulkenbergRenaultRS171’21.5891.86357
820Kevin MagnussenHaasVF-171’21.6761.95081
926Daniil KvyatToro RossoSTR121’21.7432.01783
102Stoffel VandoorneMcLarenMCL321’22.5372.81180
1194Pascal WerhleinSauberC361’23.3363.61047
129Marcus EricssonSauberC361’23.6303.90453
1330Jolyon PalmerRenaultRS171’24.7905.06415

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Will Wood
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  • 42 comments on “Massa fastest for Williams as testing resumes”

    1. I’m a little surprised that Ricciardo couldn’t get any faster after a promising morning session. I know lap times are not really important, but still I was expecting them to be faster this afternoon.

    2. I must say, Ferrari really do look good. Even Hamilton suspects that they will be the fastest come Australia, although that may just be mind games. McLaren Honda, as usual, at the back of the pack. I’m honeslty resigned to another year in the midfield, perhaps even the back of it this time.

      1. Indeed. Ferrari ran all of last week using the same engine and with zero issues, or at least no issue worth mentioning. Today they had another high-mileage, trouble-free day. They set the fastest or arguably-fastest (slightly slower on a harder compound) time each day.

        Whether they are ultimately fastest will come down to tenths of a second, and we can’t really tell that in testing. But they’re looking good on all fronts.

        1. How do you know it was the same engine?

          1. They said so. Haas also used the same engine throughout last week, so it bodes well for Ferrari PUs.

      2. Just a reminder that Ferrari were fastest last year in testing as well. Mercedes do not show their hands until qualifying in Melbourne where they turn the engine to full power and are one second faster than anyone else.

        1. David (@billyboltaction)
          7th March 2017, 22:10

          You’re right about last year but something feels a little off this year with Merc. The car isn’t working quite as well as it should. Both LH and VB have had very inconsistent long runs and a lot of track side observations have said that at times the car looks unstable. In the previous 3 seasons testing although Merc never really set the timing screen alight all the track side comments were about how planted the car looked and how it was obvious they were running heavy.

          I think Merc have some handling issues to iron out that Ferrari seem to already be on top of. At the moment I think they are a little behind compared to previous seasons. However it might be little more than setup issues rather than a fundamental aero problem. At least for Merc’s sake I hope so!

        2. javier javier
          7th March 2017, 23:06

          Remember that last year Ferrari had to use a softer tires to post those times, this year they’re really close or topping the timesheet with harder tires than the rest, plus all the comments about how the car looks on the corners, like if is painted

        3. @t3x The difference is that last year in testing, it was evident that the Ferrari didn’t have the same levels of downforce as the Mercedes, which almost everyone was able to pick up on by watching them in testing in Turns 3 and 9 of the track. This year however, Ferrari appears to be the most consistent and balanced, while Mercedes appear to be struggling more. Moreover, last year, they managed their faster lap times by using softer tyres than Mercedes and Red Bull, while this year they are using harder compounds. All of which points to a car that is at, or at the very least near, the top

        4. 3 major differences to last year:
          1) Harder tyres used this year
          2) Subjective comments from experts on the track which weren’t there last year
          3) Ferrari have covered significantly more mileage this year than last (~1.5x to 2x).

    3. Also, I didn’t really notice any major changes to the Red Bull, which is a bit surprising. Maybe I just didn’t look closely enough.

      1. Micheal (@shakengandulf)
        8th March 2017, 0:38

        Still three days left… plenty of time to add the bits.

        1. @shakengandulf Plenty of time to add them, but I would have thought that they would have wanted to test them as much as possible. Moreover, whether they put them on the car on the first or third day wouldn’t represent much of a difference in allow their competition to copy them.

    4. Of course, this may sound and probably is ridiculous, but just for a moment imagine what it would mean, were Massa to win the driver’s championship.

      1. I hate to say, but it does sound a little ridiculous.

        Williams admitted themselves that they have some work to do, and it’s a near impossibility to imagine them ahead of Mercedes, Red Bull, and Ferrari over the course of an entire season.

        1. Just like it would have sounded if somebody said Button would win 2009 Championship at the same stage…

          1. Or Maldonado winning a race in a Williams. Ever.

      2. We can say for sure that Williams will not have the fastest car. But if they are close enough to Red Bull/Ferrari/Merc and if we could have a very mixed season, he can win on more reliability and luck. Unfortunately, reliability and luck are things that don’t suit together well for him.

      3. I would be super happy for him to even win just one more race. After all the stuff he’s been through. My first memory of him was him crashing and sliding down the wall in front of our grandstand at the hairpin at Montreal in 2002, I think.

        1. Coupled with his very brief crying retirement.

      4. Oh if that would happen I would probably die from satisfaction and being happy for Massa.

        It is my secret dream that Massa somehow manages to become a Champion this season or the next (Yeah extremely ridiculous) but hell I am going to dream and no one can stop it hehe.

        Man seriously it has been 9 years and I still can’t get over his unlucky fate at the 2008 Brazilian GP. In the beginning of that season I was rooting for Hamilton but somewhere after the winter break Massa seemed highly likely to win and I thought he already stole it. But the climax race told us all otherwise. :(

        1. It seems unlikely @redbullf1 (and not in line with your username either ;) but as a dream it would be a great story, and I think everyone would cheer him and Williams if it were to somehow happen!

          1. @bosyber
            Haha yes not in line with my username , though I like the Redbull cars I am a Vettel fan, started supported him after the 2014 season, yeah when he was at his lowest. But something about Redbull cars gets me supporting them, I think it is their driver program hunting for talent rather than sponsorship. But hell they can be ruthless in throwing away a driver if they think he is not worth it. Oh well, good things don’t last long.

    5. Have a feeling the softer tyres, which are also designed to be durable than last season, may just be a tad too hard to switch on (in these, relatively cold, conditions). May be they need a lap extra of heating gently before they are at their peak.
      Could also just be teams having a look at that tyre but without the desire to push it to the limit (yet)

    6. It’s just testing. Mercedes, Ferrari and RBR still have another second or more in the bag.

      1. I’m a little doubtiful about this, they’re all new cars, at some time they will need to run at least 99% of their potential to really test the car, otherwise they will reach Australia and could have some unpleasant surprises.

        1. Miane, the thing is, the headline times are not that representative given that we are not being given any context about potential fuel loads, tyre wear and so on.

          In the case of Massa and Ricciardo, we know that their best times came when they used the supersoft and ultrasoft tyres respectively, as opposed to the softs used by Vettel and Hamilton (however, at the moment it is still not entirely clear what sort of performance delta we might expect due to a difference in tyre compound). Equally, it is worth noting that, in the case of Hamilton’s best time, that came at the start of a 16 lap stint – so he would have had a reasonable fuel load on board – and it seems that the floor of the car was damaged, which may explain why some trackside observers thought that the car had a handling imbalance.

          1. Dan ran 1:20:077 on softs.

            1. Miltiadis (@miltosgreekfan)
              8th March 2017, 5:10

              & Massa did 1.20.084 on softs as well

      2. I wonder if teams are testing out particular sector timings and then slow out in the following sectors just to hide their performance from the other team.

        1. No but their setup doesnt have to be tailored for fast laps around this specific track.

        2. Teams have access to sector times, so that would be pretty easy to figure out.

    7. The photo accompanying the article – the tyres on the Williams looks just glorious!

      (Looks down at waist – “Not all large tyres are bad”)

    8. This is exactly why Williams need a guy like Massa, good, solid, and reliable set of hands.

    9. Good job Felipe. Williams need to get as many miles as possible on the car before Lance takes over.

      Maybe this could be a good year for Felipe. These cars are similar to the pre2009 cars and he is one of the few guys remaining that were in the sport at that time.

      1. Felipe struggled after the accident, he struggled with the degrading tyres. So at least this year, one of the two factors are gone.

    10. Hamilton was not a happy bunny today. The car was struggling out of the last chicane and was munching through the tyres. He’s already sounding frustrated, I think Ferrari and Redbull will be the two teams to beat this year.

      1. Your comment almost takes me to the 2010 Singapore GP, oh that race with Alonso-Ferrari vs Vettel-Red Bull, I hope those days come back.

    11. Excitement all round the field especially as last week didn’t show like there was due to be any major change to the front three this season…But now who knows this could be the start of a Williams come back. Let’s hope so. But as I keep pointing out, only time will tell (and the drivers cool heads)… Plus there is always the possibility that Toro is correct and we haven’t seen the real red bull for this year. Curiouser and curiouser (as always)

    12. Honda are changing PUs as they’re going out of fashion.

      Brilliant!

    13. Rick Lopez (@viscountviktor)
      8th March 2017, 0:07

      Yes Felipe! Keep it up!

    Comments are closed.