F1 Testing in Bahrain - Day Three

Rosberg completes Mercedes-powered cars’ sweep of Bahrain test

Leave a comment

Running was more limited on the fourth and final day of Formula One’s first test in Bahrain, and second of the winter.

Still, in the laps that were completed, Nico Rosberg rounded out a week-long sweep of the fastest times by Mercedes-powered cars, after Nico Hulkenberg, Kevin Magnussen and Rosberg’s teammate Lewis Hamilton had led the past three days.

Rosberg’s best lap of 1:33.283 in the Mercedes W05 came during short runs on Pirelli’s soft tire, and was the fastest lap of the week by nearly a full second.

Times elsewhere in the field weren’t really as close, with second-placed Jenson Button more than 1.5 seconds in arrears and Kimi Raikkonen more than 3 back.

Raikkonen’s day ended early after a spin launching out of Turn 4, caused merely by putting the power down too hard on corner exit in the Ferrari F14 T.

Elsewhere of note, new Williams third driver Felipe Nasr got 87 laps in on his first day of testing, and more issues struck the Renault squads.

An electrical issue provided a very early end for Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson after just four laps, which spoiled their goal of running both he and Kamui Kobayashi for full half days. Kobayashi made it out in the afternoon for 17 laps.

The struggles continued at Red Bull, Daniel Ricciardo completing only 15 before parking in the garage. Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne didn’t fare much better with only 19.

Lotus got in 59 through a spate of minor interruptions, with Pastor Maldonado posting the team’s best time of the week at 1:38.707.

Other than Raikkonen, Ferrari-engined cars barely got any running either. Chassis issued sidelined Adrian Sutil’s Sauber in the morning, and Marussia’s miserable week concluded with engine and fuel problems limiting Jules Bianchi from setting a representative time.

Mercedes continued to extend its overall lead in laps completed after Saturday’s running. The Saturday breakout times first, followed by overall laps after that:

  • Mercedes: 261 (Rosberg 89, Button 66, Nasr 87, Sergio Perez 19)
  • Renault: 114 (Maldonado 59, Ricciardo 15, Vergne 19, Kobayashi 17, Ericsson 4)
  • Ferrari: 94 (Raikkonen 82, Sutil 7, Bianchi 5)

For the week:

  • Mercedes: 1,147 (238 Wednesday, 306 Thursday, 342 Friday, 261 Saturday)
  • Renault: 619 (95 Wednesday, 201 Thursday, 209 Friday, 114 Saturday)
  • Ferrari: 556 (149 Wednesday, 169 Thursday, 144 Friday, 94 Saturday)

Saturday times:

1. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1m 33.283s, 89 Laps
2. Jenson Button, McLaren-Mercedes, 1m 34.957s, 66
3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1m 36.718s, 82
4. Felipe Nasr, Williams-Mercedes, 1m 37.569s, 87
5. Pastor Maldonado, Lotus-Renault, 1m 38.707s, 59
6. Sergio Perez, Force India-Mercedes, 1m 39.258s, 19
7. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull-Renault, 1m 39.837s, 15
8. Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso-Renault, 1m 40.472s, 19
9. Kamui Kobayashi, Caterham-Renault, 1m 43.027s, 17
10. Marcus Ericsson, Caterham-Renault, 1m 45.094s, 4
11. Adrian Sutil, Sauber-Ferrari, no time, 7
12. Jules Bianchi, Marussia-Ferrari, no time, 5

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Gabby Chaves

Gabby Chaves
Leave a comment

MotorSportsTalk continues its run through the driver-by-driver field in the Verizon IndyCar Series. In 15th and the rookie-of-the-year for 2015, was Gabby Chaves.

Gabby Chaves, No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda

  • 2014: Indy Lights champion
  • 2015: 15th Place, Best Finish 9th, Best Start 12th, 0 Top-5, 2 Top-10, 31 Laps Led, 19.3 Avg. Start, 14.4 Avg. Finish

Some drivers finish better than their performances show. Some drivers have performances better than their results show. The latter statement applied to Gabby Chaves in his rookie year, in what was an impressive first season after making the step up from Indy Lights, which deservedly earned him rookie-of-the-year honors.

The best comparison I’d make for Gabby is of Josef Newgarden in 2012 with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, a first-year driver on a single-car, newish team to the series.

Chaves rarely dazzled in qualifying but that wasn’t his fault; he and engineer John Dick worked well together and Chaves recounted multiple times this year that a tweak here or tweak there, the wrong way, on the aero kit would send them down the wrong setup path.

Results in races didn’t measure up either but again that was through almost no fault of his own. The only time Chaves looked truly like a rookie was at St. Pete, when he had several collisions. Otherwise he was ahead of eventual winner James Hinchcliffe at NOLA before getting punted off, reliable through the month of May in Indianapolis, finally able to break through for a ninth place in Detroit race two, overachieving in Texas, 11th at Milwaukee after some great wheel-to-wheel racing with series winners and champions, and then phenomenal at Pocono as he was on course for a first career win or podium before late-race engine issues – his first DNF of the season.

For both Chaves and Herta, you’d love to see them together for another season, and the results and confidence for both parties will grow as a result. Those who’ve seen Newgarden’s rise over four years with Fisher and now CFH will note the long-term stability, and that’s what Chaves could do if he gets the time.

He planted the seed of being a great IndyCar driver, and he became pretty versatile during the year too with additional appearances in the DeltaWing prototype, a short-track midget and one of Herta’s Red Bull Global Rallycross cars. To boot, he’s a smart, great kid who is mature beyond his years, and someone you should be buying stock in now. Anyone who saw Chaves in the Mazda Road to Indy should not have been surprised by his rookie season in the big cars.

Off The Grid: Monza preview (premieres Saturday 10/10 on NBCSN)

F1 Grand Prix of Italy
© Getty Images
Leave a comment

Having already taken you behind the scenes in Barcelona, Budapest, Singapore, Melbourne and Silverstone, Will Buxton and Jason Swales now head to one of Formula 1’s most iconic venues for the latest episode of Off The Grid.

Monza has appeared in all but one F1 season since the formation of the world championship in 1950, and is a firm favorite among drivers, teams and fans alike.

However, there is far more to the Italian Grand Prix than meets the eye, as we find out in Saturday’s premiere of Off The Grid: Monza at 9:30am ET (follows Russian GP qualifying).

Having honed his talents in go-karts as a kid, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo is now trying to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of racers. But can he teach Will or Jason a thing or two?

We also catch up with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and get a feel for life on the road as he takes us for a tour of his lavish bus in which he travels in for the European F1 races.

Have you ever wondered just how the suits F1 drivers wear are made? We go behind the scenes at Alpine Stars’ factory in Italy and find out.

Off The Grid: Monza premieres on Saturday at 9:30am ET on NBCSN following Russian GP qualifying.