Maldonado fastest as F1 pre-season testing resumes in Barcelona (VIDEO)

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Pastor Maldonado has made an impressive start to the second F1 pre-season test in Barcelona today by topping the timesheets ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

Following on from the first test in Jerez at the beginning of the month, the teams kicked off the second four-day test in Barcelona today as preparations for the start of the season continue to come together.

In warm and sunny conditions, all nine of the teams confirmed to be racing in F1 this season made an appearance as Force India opted to run its 2014 car after missing the Jerez test.

Maldonado’s day had not started as he would have liked, with his Lotus twice stopping at turn five and bringing out a red flag. However, the Venezuelan rallied and eventually posted the fastest time of the day on the soft tire with one hour remaining.

The Lotus driver’s lap of 1:25.011 was good enough to knock Kimi Raikkonen off the top of the timesheets, with the Finn spending most of Thursday in P1. Raikkonen put in another impressive display for the team following his escapades in Jerez, and will be hoping to continue his good form on Friday.

After a so-so first test, Red Bull appeared to be in better shape on day one as Daniel Ricciardo finished a solid third for the team. Donning its dazzle camouflage livery once again, the RB11 enjoyed a trouble-free day en route to P3 at the hands of the Australian. He will be behind the wheel once again on Friday.

Sergio Perez’s fourth-place finish came as something of a surprise given that the Mexican was never supposed to complete any running on Thursday. Mercedes reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein took part in the morning session for Force India, posting a fastest time of 1:28.329 before being called back to Mercedes to replace Lewis Hamilton. The Briton had come down with a fever, managing 11 laps before handing the reins over to Wehrlein, who went two-tenths a second slower in the Mercedes than he had in the Force India.

Felipe Nasr finished down in fifth for Sauber, but his day came to an abrupt halt following a bizarre incident involving Williams test driver Susie Wolff. The two drivers came together at turn five in the afternoon session, resulting in a lengthy red flag period whilst the debris and cars were cleared. Both drivers were okay, and both were eventually able to head back out in the final 30 minutes of the day.

McLaren’s Jerez woes continued on day one in Jerez as Jenson Button was limited to just 21 laps due to a problem with the MGU-K on his power unit. The Briton has now swapped one of his day’s with Fernando Alonso, who is expected to endure a quiet day tomorrow as the team tries to resolve the issue. Button eventually finished in seventh for McLaren, one place behind Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen.

In all, there were four red flags on day one in Barcelona. The session ended with two minutes left on the clock after Felipe Nasr stopped at turn nine, drawing a curtain over the first day of the test.

Tomorrow marks the halfway point in the pre-season testing programme, and Lotus will be hoping that reserve driver Jolyon Palmer can follow in Maldonado’s footsteps and finish towards the top of the standings. For others, the priority will simply be racking up the mileage as all try to iron out any final issues with their cars before the start of the season in Australia.

You can view the full line-up for tomorrow’s test day in Barcelona here.

Barcelona Day 1 – Final Classification

1. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:25.011 (69 laps)
2. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:25.167 +0.156 (74)
3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:25.547 +0.536 (59)
4. Sergio Perez Force India 1:26.636 +1.625 (34)
5. Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:27.307 +2.296 (79)
6. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:27.900 +2.889 (94)
7. Jenson Button McLaren 1:28.182 +3.171 (21)
8. Pascal Wehrlein Force India 1:28.329 +3.318 (32)
9. Pascal Wehrlein Mercedes 1:28.489 +3.478 (48)
10. Susie Wolff Williams 1:28.906 +3.895 (86)
11. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:30.429 +5.418 (11)

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III