Formula One: 2015 2nd Barcelona Test Recap

f1-2015-barcelona-2nd-test-rosberg-vettelWith less than two weeks to go before the first Grand Prix of the season in Melbourne, the second test at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona was the final chance that the teams got to get ready for the 2015 season.

For some teams, it was more of the same. Mercedes was at the front of the pack while McLaren struggled to get some consistent running in. Other teams found some much-needed form. Williams found some speed in the final test of the pre-season and Force India finally ran their 2015 car with as much mileage in three days as McLaren had in three weeks.

Day 1 (February 26)

f1-2015-barcelona-2nd-test-massa-williamsThis may be the final test of the season but there were all sorts of issues that teams needed to sort out. The KERS part of the ERS unit failed for Mercedes so Lewis Hamilton’s running was limited. Daniil Kvyat’s RB11 stopped inside the first 15 minutes of running. Toro Rosso showed up with a nearly new STR10 but spent a chunk of the day in the garage. A hydraulic fault limited McLaren to only 7 laps. And Force India missed the first day of the test as they hurriedly finished work on their 2015 car.

At the top of the timesheets were the two drivers who completed the most laps. Felipe Massa went fastest by three-quarters of a second while completing 103 laps. Marcus Ericsson completed 122 laps but went very much slower on softer tyres than the Williams. I’m not sure that Ferrari’s early power advantage has held up over the course of the month of testing.

  1. Felipe Massa – Williams-Mercedes – 1:23.500
  2. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:24.276
  3. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:24.881
  4. Daniil Kvyat – Red Bull-Renault – 1:25.947
  5. Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Mercedes – 1:26.177
  6. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:26.327
  7. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:26.962
  8. Jenson Button – McLaren-Honda – 1:31.479

Day 2 (February 27)

f1-2015-barcelona-2nd-test-rosberg-mercedesWithout any noteworthy issues, Mercedes was on top for the second day of the test. Not only was Nico Rosberg 1.2-seconds faster than everyone else, his time was about 2.5-seconds faster than Lewis Hamilton’s pole time for last year’s race. Sure, Rosberg was on this year’s softs compared to last year’s mediums but Rosberg was reportedly running with some 30 kg of fuel on-board which would be quite a bit more than Hamilton.

There were two other noteworthy moments from testing. First, Jenson Button crossed 100 laps for the first time in testing for the new McLaren-Honda. The other was the debut of the 2015 Force India VJM08. It was 5.6-seconds off the pace but they managed 77 laps in its first go which is better than some of the other teams in testing.

  1. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:22.792
  2. Valtteri Bottas – Williams-Mercedes – 1:23.995
  3. Felipe Nasr – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:24.071
  4. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:25.339
  5. Jenson Button – McLaren-Honda – 1:25.590
  6. Pastor Maldonado – Lotus-Mercedes – 1:26.705
  7. Max Verstappen – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:26.766
  8. Daniil Kvyat – Red Bull-Renault – 1:26.965
  9. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India-Mercedes – 1:28.412

Day 3 (February 28)

f1-2015-barcelona-2nd-test-hulkenberg-force-indiaThe penultimate day of testing had some close times but Mercedes also spent part of the day working on new setups for the W06. That allowed the top three cars to all run within a quarter-second. While I think that’s probably the right top-three for 2015, I don’t think they’ll be that close to each other come Melbourne.

Force India and McLaren also had some interesting days. With Fernando Alonso out of action due a concussion, Kevin Magnussen took Alonso’s place for the final two days of testing. And in only the second day of running for the VJM08, Nico Hulkenberg covered the most ground of anyone in one single testing day. The Hulk did 158 laps for 735 km over the day. So it looks like reliability won’t be a problem for Force India this year. In fact, the VJM08 covered only 50 km less in its three days of testing (through March 1) than what McLaren has in 12 days.

  1. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:23.022
  2. Felipe Massa – Williams-Mercedes – 1:23.262
  3. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:23.276
  4. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:24.191
  5. Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Mercedes – 1:24.200
  6. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:24.477
  7. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India-Mercedes – 1:24.939
  8. Kevin Magnussen – McLaren-Honda – 1:25.225
  9. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull-Renault – 1:25.742

Day 4 (March 1)

f1-2015-barcelona-2nd-test-bottas-williamsThe final day of the final test ended with the top Mercedes-powered drivers each scoring a fastest time on one day in the final test. Bottas was the last of the Mercedes and Williams drivers to score a fast time in last week’s test.

There was also a crash in the final day of testing. Pastor Maldonado crashed at Turn 4 (the second of the long right-handers) but Lotus claimed that the crash was a result of brake failure. I think that even Pastor would have felt better if it was his fault.

  1. Valtteri Bottas – Williams-Mercedes – 1:23.063
  2. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:23.469
  3. Felipe Nasr – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:24.023
  4. Max Verstappen – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:24.527
  5. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull-Renault – 1:24.638
  6. Sergio Perez – Force India-Mercedes – 1:25.113
  7. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:25.186
  8. Jenson Button – McLaren-Honda – 1:25.327
  9. Pastor Maldonado – Lotus-Mercedes – 1:28.272

Best Times of the Barcelona Tests

  1. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:22.792
  2. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:23.022
  3. Valtteri Bottas – Williams-Mercedes – 1:23.063
  4. Felipe Massa – Williams-Mercedes – 1:23.262
  5. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:23.276
  6. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:23.469
  7. Felipe Nasr – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:24.023
  8. Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Mercedes – 1:24.067
  9. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:24.191
  10. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:24.348
  11. Pastor Maldonado – Lotus-Mercedes – 1:24.348
  12. Max Verstappen – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:24.527
  13. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull-Renault – 1:24.574
  14. Sergio Perez – Force India-Mercedes – 1:24.702
  15. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India-Mercedes – 1:24.939
  16. Daniil Kvyat – Red Bull-Renault – 1:24.941
  17. Kevin Magnussen – McLaren-Honda – 1:25.225
  18. Jenson Button – McLaren-Honda – 1:25.327
  19. Fernando Alonso – McLaren-Honda – 1:25.961
  20. Jolyon Palmer – Lotus-Mercedes – 1:26.280
  21. Pascal Wehrlein – Force India-Mercedes – 1:27.333
  22. Susie Wolff – Williams-Mercedes – 1:28.906

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