Pastor Maldonado has topped the time sheets (1:25.011) on the opening day of testing in Barcelona overnight.
The Lotus driver made good use of his new Mercedes power unit and some fresh soft tyres to set his best lap late in what was quite an exciting day, as far as pre-season testing goes.
Kimi Raikkonen (1:25.167) again kept Ferrari near the pointy end, while Daniel Ricciardo was the third fastest (1:25.547). The top three had a full second clear back to the remaining pack.
“The car felt good today, we got a bit of running done on a few different [tyre] compounds, which was interesting and we got a lot of data, which is always good,” said Daniel. “I think we’re chipping away. We’re definitely making progress but it takes time. However, I think come Melbourne we’ll be there.”
The excitement came from a minor coming together with Felipe Nasr (Sauber) and Susie Wolff (Williams). In the morning session Nasr had shown good pace, heading the field, but that all came undone after he ran into the back of Wolff’s car. The damage was minor and both drivers were able to get back on track later in the day.
Lewis Hamilton set the slowest time of the day and ended his running early due to illness. The world champion completed only 11 laps and his departure meant that reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein was quickly recalled from his loan spell with Force India. Wehrlein was able to complete 48 laps in the W06, after putting in 32 laps for Force India earlier in the day.
Unofficial testing times from Barcelona I (Day 1):
- Pastor Maldonado, Lotus – 1:25.011 (69 laps)
- Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari – 1:25.167 (74 laps)
- Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull – 1:25.547 (59 laps)
- Sergio Perez, Force India – 1:26.636 (34 laps)
- Felipe Nasr, Sauber – 1:27.307 (79 laps)
- Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso – 1:27.900 (94 laps)
- Jenson Button, McLaren – 1:28.182 (21 laps)
- Pascal Wehrlein, Force India – 1:28.329 (32 laps)
- Pascal Wehrlein, Mercedes – 1:28.489 (48 laps)
- Susie Wolff, Williams – 1:28.906 (86 laps)
- Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes – 1:30.429 (11 laps)