Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Maldonado stays top as Wolff shines for Williams on the final day of Barcelona test

(©Ben Johnston 2014)

The Lotus F1 Team's Pastor Maldonado stayed top this afternoon as the in season test at the Barcelona Circuit de Catalunya in Spain. The Venezuelan completed 102 lap's for the Enstone based outfit, setting a time of 1m 24.871s to finish just ahead of Mercedes Nico Rosberg who also completed 102 lap's.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen recovered from a difficult morning session yesterday to record the third fastest time for the Italian team. The Finn completed 93 lap's in F14T and finished the day with a time of 1m 26.480s just ahead of the Sauber F1 Team's Esteban Gutierrez.

However, the day belonged to the Williams Martini Racing Team's Susie Wolff who did a fantastic job for the Grove based outfit. The Scot was driving the FW36 for the first time today and despite a spin this morning she recorded the fifth fastest time of the day with a 1m 27.280s just 2.4s behind Maldonado.

(Williams Racing via Twitter)

Speaking following the test, Wolff said:

'This was my first opportunity to drive the FW36 and I learnt a lot about how to drive these new look cars which are very different to previous seasons. With last year’s car the harder you pushed the faster you went, but now you have to manage certain elements a lot more. The cars also have a lot more torque which was a steep learning curve, and this caught me out at the beginning of the session. Overall today was a productive day for the team and we worked very well together to quickly complete our planned aero and mechanical evaluations. I was then able to get some good mileage under my belt to understand the characteristics of the car and how to get the most out of this new style of power unit.'  

The team's chief test and support engineer Rod Nelson commented:

'We had a very productive day today, with Susie performing some aero test work and control systems testing and we completed our planned testing programme on schedule this morning. The focus this afternoon was then on giving Susie the time in the car she needs to understand the intricacies of the FW36 and to get a feel for how the new look regulations have changed the car's behaviour. The improved weather today also helped us gather the data we need, and we will now be analysing this to make further improvements to the car in time for Monaco.'

After topping the time sheets with Max Chilton yesterday, the Marussia F1 Team finished the day in 6th with Jules Bianchi behind the wheel.

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel took over running from Sebastian Buemi for Infiniti Red Bull Racing. The German completed  lap's and finished the test in 7th place. Speaking following the days running Vettel said:

'The problems of yesterday made us a bit late out this morning but the afternoon was productive and we did a lot of laps which, considering the time we had, was good, We used the tyres that we used last weekend, as we want to try to understand the car more and in terms of that I think we have learned a lot, so I would say it was a useful, if not perfect, day.'

Daniel Juncadella took over testing duties from Nico Hulkenberg for Force India and completed 91 lap's for the Silverstone based team on his way to finishing the day in 8th place. Juncadella commented afterwards by saying:

'I enjoyed today. It was my second day of testing with the team and it was a valuable opportunity to continue learning about the VJM07. The last time I drove the car was in Jerez in January when the track was cold and damp, so it felt good to have a completely dry day. The main job today was to evaluate tyres for Pirelli so there was not really that much we could change with the set-up. The focus was simply on giving accurate feedback on the tyres and we delivered that successfully.'

(Sahara Force India Formula One Team)

Force India's chief engineer, Tom McCullough said:

'Overall it was a successful test, even though we did lose some track time due to the poor weather on day one and an early accident on day two. Yesterday, Nico’s test programme was geared towards gathering data that is critical to our on-going car development. This also included preparatory work for the upcoming races in Monaco and Montreal. The focus today was all about tyre testing for Pirelli with Daniel in the car. He gave useful feedback on the tyres and general car performance.'

McLaren young driver Stoffel Vandoorne finished the day in 9th place, completing 135 lap's, the most of any driver today. He finished the day just ahead of Daniil Kvyat who rounded out the the time sheets in 10th place.

(McLaren Mercedes)

©Ben Johnston 2014

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