Hulkenberg tops on first day of tests
Sahara Force India and Nico Hulkenberg finished at the top of the timesheets after the first day of testing at the Bahrain International Circuit. The German, who completed 78 laps, clocked 1:36.880. A very positive and satisfying day. – said Hulkenberg – We had a busy programme and we learned a lot. Time in the car is very valuable at the moment and so it feels good to cover so many laps and even complete two long runs at the end of the day. That gave me a chance to see how the car behaves and to start getting a feel for it, which was not something I was able to do in Jerez. It’s great that we’ve already done some set-up work and started to improve the drivability of the car. But it’s still very early stages; we are learning with every lap and we face a very steep learning curve in the coming days.
Fernando Alonso was second with 1:37.879. The Spaniard brought out the first red flag after an oil leak. Ferrari resumed the programme it began in Jerez two weeks ago, working on further checking of all aspects of the new power unit systems and some aerodynamic testing. Today, particular attention was paid to fine tuning the new brake by wire system, to optimise the balance of the car.
Mercedes’ Hamilton set the time of 1:37.908, good enough for third place on the timesheets, with a consistent 74 laps on the board. Lewis completed two twenty-lap stints with the team taking a close look at tyre performance and car data. A brake issue ended the programme slightly early, while Nico Rosberg will be in the car tomorrow.
McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen was fourth ahead of Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull-Renault. After a long build this morning, the champion made it out on track, but his progress was ended late in the afternoon by a mechanical issue. Obviously we’re not happy with where we are now and we have a long way ahead of us. The first gut feeling from the car is OK, but we need more running. – he said – It’s not easy to find a quick fix, but I think we understand the problems. We sorted out the issues from Jerez and we were able to do some laps today.
Bahrain, February 19th 2014
1. Nico Hulkenberg – Sahara Force India-Mercedes VJM07 – 1:36.880, 78 laps
2. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari F14 T – 1:37.879, 64 laps
3. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes F1 W05 – 1:37.908, 74 laps
4. Kevin Magnussen – McLaren-Mercedes MP4-29 – 1:38.295, 81 laps
5. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault RB10 – 1:40.224, 14 laps
6. Adrian Sutil – Sauber-Ferrari C33 – 1:40.443, 82 laps
7. Robin Frijns – Caterham-Renault CT05 – 1:42.534, 68 laps
8. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso-Renault STR9 – 1:44.346, 5 laps
9. Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Renault E22 – 1:44.832, 8 laps
10. Felipe Massa – Williams-Mercedes FW36 – no time, 5 laps
11. Jules Bianchi – Marussia-Ferrari MR03 – no time, 3 laps