Felipe Massa’s career could be headed for a resurgence after setting the fastest time (1:28.229) on a damp final day of testing in Jerez overnight. The FW36 has been near the pointy end all week and the decision of Williams to switch from Renault to Mercedes power for this season is proving to be inspired.
“We managed to do many more laps today than we have in the last three days which is important,” Massa said. “Today we didn’t have any issues with the car which I think is also another step forward.
“Overall, I’m happy with my first days with Williams and I’m pleased with what I have seen in the team this week. For sure it is important to be competitive, but testing is testing, and we now need to look to prepare for Bahrain and then towards the first race, which is the most important thing.”
Once again the three Renault-powered teams struggled to gain any meaningful track time and that, more than anything, is the major story from this first taste of the new regulations. At least Daniel Ricciardo (1:45.374) managed to lock in a flying lap time for Red Bull, albeit the slowest time of the day and one of just seven laps completed.
Fernando Alonso (1:29.145) has given Ferrari fans cause for optimism with the second fastest time and a large haul of 115 laps, the most of any driver on day 4. Third place was Daniel Juncadella (1:29.457), an impressive debut for the Force India reserve driver who no doubt relished all of his 81 laps.
Kevin Magnussen (1:30.806) notched up 110 laps and recorded the fourth fastest time of the day. Hot on his heels was Lewis Hamilton (1:30.822) splitting his driving duties with teammate Nico Rosberg (1:36.951) who set the eighth fastest time. Again, the Mercedes duo combined to complete an impressive tally of 132 laps.
The sixth and seventh quickest times of the day were set by Jules Bianchi (1:32.222) in the Marussia MR03 and Adrian Sutil (1:36.571) in the Sauber C33.
After Rosberg came the struggling Renault-powered trio of Kamui Kobayashi (1:43.193) with 54 laps, Daniil Kvyat (1:44.016) just nine, and as previously mentioned Daniel Ricciardo managed only seven.
Unofficial test times from Jerez (Day 4):
1. Felipe Massa, Williams – 1:28.229 (86 laps)
2. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari – 1:29.145 (115 laps)
3. Daniel Juncadella, Force India – 1:29.457 (81 laps)
4. Kevin Magnussen, McLaren – 1:30.806 (110 laps)
5. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes – 1:30.822 (41 laps)
6. Jules Bianchi, Marussia – 1:32.222 (25 laps)
7. Adrian Sutil, Sauber – 1:36.571 (69 laps)
8. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes – 1:36.951 (91 laps)
9. Kamui Kobayashi, Caterham – 1:43.193 (54 laps)
10. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso – 1:44.016 (9 laps)
11. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull – 1:45.374 (7 laps)