Valtteri Bottas posted the fastest time in testing so far for Mercedes while Ferrari’s running was curtailed by a crash for Kimi Raikkonen.
Bottas’s 1’19.310 was four tenths faster than his own benchmark set last week. Felipe Massa was second fastest for Williams, just a tenth off the Mercedes pace.
The Circuit de Catalunya was a touch cooler than on the opening day of the second test as the track went green to begin day six.
Mercedes wasted no time in getting down to business, sending Valtteri Bottas out immediately on a brief stint on ultra soft tyres. The Finn clocked four laps around the 1’21 range before pitting.
In his first outing of the week, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was quick to get on the pace, posting a 1’20.432 on Soft tyres – the Dutchman’s fastest time over the two tests to date.
Following their engine change on Tuesday’s session, McLaren were taking a steady approach to their day’s running with Fernando Alonso, who only recorded his first truly representative laptime over two hours into the session.
Just before midday, Mercedes decided to turn the pace up and sent Bottas out in the W08 on super soft tyres. The resulting 1’19.310 was not only the quickest time of the day, but also the fastest lap set by any driver over the six days of testing so far.
After a marathon stint in the car yesterday, Felipe Massa was back in the Williams in the morning session and showed good pace once more, using the ultra soft tyres to get within just over a tenth of Bottas’s benchmark and 63 more laps on the board.
At Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen’s start to the day was frustrated by a two hour delay following what the team described as a ‘fluid systems check’. Once the car was going, however, Raikkonen clocked his personal benchmark in testing of a 1’20.406 – good enough for the third-fastest time.
During the lunch break, Red Bull made an unscheduled engine change in Max Verstappen’s RB13, meaning there was an extended delay to the team resuming its programme in the afternoon.
As track action resumed after lunch, there was surprisingly little in the way of running. Lance Stroll got behind the wheel of the Williams for the first time this week as he looked to build up his confidence and consistency following a number of incidents in the previous week’s running.
The Canadian rookie was able to gradually build up speed on Soft tyres, producing his personal best time of testing so far of a 1’20.579 and, more critically, not making any major mistakes.
After their earlier delay, Ferrari’s day was cut unexpectedly shorter when Kimi Raikkonen lost control of the SF70H in Turn Three and made contact with the outside barrier. Despite it only being a minor collision, it was enough to end Ferrari’s running after 53 laps.
More delays afflicted Jolyon Palmer, who finally took to track with only 90 minutes of the session remaining. The Brit was able to cover laps and ended the day bottom of the time sheets.
Marcus Ericsson took over the Sauber from Pascal Wehrlein in the afternoon, recording 44 laps and a best time that was two seconds adrift of his previous best.
Romain Grosjean completed an undramatic day’s running in the Haas, adding 93 laps to the team’s total. Sergio Perez also covered 97 laps for Force India.
Despite their engine change, Red Bull were able to cover the most mileage of anyone in the day with Verstappen completing exactly 100 laps. The Red Bull then pulled off the circuit at Turn 12, bringing out the second red flag stoppage. The session was extended by a few more minutes but a third red flag triggered by Marcus Ericsson finally brought proceedings to a close.
|Pos.||Car number||Driver||Team||Model||Best time||Gap||Laps|
|4||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||RB13||1’20.432||1.122||102|
|8||11||Sergio Perez||Force India||VJM10||1’21.297||1.987||100|
|9||55||Carlos Sainz Jnr||Toro Rosso||STR12||1’21.872||2.562||92|
2017 F1 season
- Stripping Verstappen of 2017 US podium was “one of the toughest decisions” – steward
- Sepang pays Haas compensation for Grosjean’s 2017 crash
- Williams revenues rose in 2017 after Bottas deal with Mercedes
- New kerbs at COTA in response to Verstappen’s corner-cutting
- Australian Grand Prix cost government £56 million last year