BARCELONA – Valtteri Bottas took his turn at the top of the timesheets on Wednesday as Formula 1 pre-season test continued in Barcelona.
Bottas finished quickest for Williams with a fastest lap of 1:23.261, set on the super-soft tire with less than two hours remaining in the day as the majority of the teams focused on race simulations.
It proved to be a relatively incident-free day of running at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with just one red flag interrupting track time as all but three teams completed over 100 laps.
Bottas was followed in the final classification by defending champion Lewis Hamilton, who took the morning running for Mercedes as it once again split the day between its drivers.
Hamilton mirrored the programme of teammate Nico Rosberg from Monday morning, focusing on quick laps as opposed to race runs, and finished just three-tenths of a second shy of Bottas at the top despite posting his time on the soft compound.
Renault had a rare day without issues as Kevin Magnussen racked up 126 laps in the R.S.16 car en route to third position, six-tenths down on Bottas at the top.
Sebastian Vettel followed in P4 for Ferrari as the Italian marque bounced back from a problematic Tuesday. However, the race simulation pace was notably slower than that of Mercedes, suggesting that the pecking order at the very head of the field will remain unchanged this year.
McLaren’s upturn in fortunes continued as Jenson Button finished the day fifth with 121 laps on the board. A small issue at the end of the morning session cost the team some time, but the new Honda power unit and Mobil 1 fuel update appear to both be working well.
Daniel Ricciardo ended the day sixth for Red Bull, again racking up over 100 laps after conducting a race simulation in the afternoon. Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr. led the way in terms of laps though, completing more than 160 laps – Mercedes-esque mileage – as the STR11 car impressed once again, taking the Spaniard to seventh overall.
Sergio Perez finished eighth for Force India after some late improvements, while Rosberg came ninth for Mercedes. Together, he and Hamilton completed over 160 laps, marking another ominous showing from the defending champion team.
Pascal Wehrlein ended the day 10th for Manor, while Marcus Ericsson was 11th for Sauber and responsible for the only red flag of the day after beaching his car at Turn 4 with one hour remaining.
It proved to be another difficult day for Haas as Esteban Gutierrez completed just a single lap in the VF-16 car. The team confirmed to MotorSportsTalk that there had been an ‘anomaly’ with the engine, suspected to have been caused by over-revving on the outlap.
Testing continues in Barcelona on Thursday with the penultimate day of running.