Vettel fastest again on rain-affected second day of Jerez test


Sebastian Vettel’s good start to life with Ferrari continued in Jerez today as he finished the second day of pre-season testing as the fastest driver.

The four-time world champion posted a best time of 1:20.984 to finish ahead of Sauber’s Felipe Nasr and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, doubling up after also topping the timesheets on Sunday.

Day two in Jerez saw defending world champion Lewis Hamilton enjoy his first public run-out with the new Mercedes W06 Hybrid car, but it did not go entirely to plan. Despite completing more laps than any other driver, his total of 91 fell some way short of teammate Nico Rosberg’s tally of 157 on Sunday.

After being on the pace early on, a problem with the water system on Hamilton’s car sidelined him just after lunch, and the Briton was unable to get back out on track, finishing fourth in the final standings. He will return to the car on Wednesday, with Rosberg stepping in tomorrow.

17-year-old Max Verstappen got his first taste of the Toro Rosso STR10 in Jerez on Monday, finishing a respectable fifth come the end of the day. With 73 laps under his belt, the Dutchman’s experience is certainly growing ahead of the new season.

Despite believing that it would not get out on track until Tuesday, a quick turnaround from Lotus allowed Pastor Maldonado to give the E23 Hybrid its first on-track run. With 41 laps, the Venezuelan driver picked up some good data for the team, even if he encountered one problem whilst out on track in the afternoon.

It was a bad day for both McLaren and Red Bull, though. Jenson Button could manage just six laps in the McLaren MP4-30 as teething problems with the new Honda engine persisted, leaving the Briton down in seventh place.

In a rather bizarre situation, Daniil Kvyat’s first run in a Red Bull was curtailed after he broke the only front wing the team had brought to Jerez. The young Russian was sent back out without a front wing on his car, eventually finishing the day with 18 slow laps to his name.

With one hour to go in Jerez, a heavy rain shower limited running and meant that Vettel’s place at the top of the timesheets was secure. This did not stop the German driver from heading back out in the spray alongside Max Verstappen, Felipe Nasr and Jenson Button, giving their teams some wet-weather data ahead of the new season.

It may only be testing, but once again in Jerez it is Vettel and Ferrari who lead the way. The German driver will next run in the SF15-T at the second test in Barcelona, handing the rest of the Jerez running over to teammate Kimi Raikkonen. You can see the full line-up for tomorrow’s session here.

Jerez Day 2 – Final Results

1. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:20.984 (88 laps)
2. Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:21.867 (89)
3. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:22.319 (61)
4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.490 (91)
5. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:24.167 (73)
6. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:25.802 (41)
7. Jenson Button McLaren 1:54.655 (6)
8. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull no time (18)

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing

Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.