McLaren continued to set the pace in Jerez as rookie Kevin Magnussen wasted no time in getting up to speed in Formula One, the Dane finishing ahead of Williams’ Felipe Massa and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
Red Bull Racing’s woes continued, however, with new recruit Daniel Ricciardo managing just three laps as the ERS problems that stopped the team yesterday again forced them to abandon running.
Mclaren covered 92 laps with its two drivers, Magnussen and Jenson Button, while Mercedes did 62 laps and Williams 47. Force India was the only Mercedes powered car to struggle for mileage. Williams has had a promising start to 2014 with some solid running for Felipe Massa today to back up what Bottas managed at the start of the test.
Following his quickest time yesterday, Jenson Button was again at the wheel of the MP4-29 this morning to make up for his lack of running on day one of the test. After setting the morning’s fastest time with a lap of 1:25.030 he handed the car over Magnussen for the afternoon session.
And it did not take long for the Dane to better his team-mate, completing 52 laps in the process and concluding another successful day for McLaren and its power suppliers, Mercedes. Magnussen finished the day with a best lap of 1:23.276, four tenths clear of second-placed Williams driver Felipe Massa. Lewis Hamilton was third for Mercedes with a time of 1:23.952.
“At the moment we’re definitely happy,” said Hamilton. “Proving reliability at this stage is crucial and every lap is precious, as this is going to be a seriously challenging year for every team. I’m feeling very positive after these tests.”
However, the woes at the Renault-powered teams continued as Red Bull Racing and Caterham once again hit trouble, resulting in the defending champions cutting their day short for the second day in succession. Ricciardo completed just three laps in the troubled RB10 but failed to set a time.
Caterham also endured a torrid afternoon. A power unit problem which could not be remedied before the 5pm chequered flag meant a lost second session for the Leafield squad, as the team’s Track Support Leader, Cedrik Staudohar explained.
“Robin Frijns was sent out in the car early and we started working through a number of programs but just after lunch we found a problem with the power unit that required us to change a part which, unfortunately, ended our running early. We have identified the source of the issue and will work overnight to ensure it does not occur again, giving the team the chance to add to the lap count tomorrow.”
At Mercedes, Hamilton’s day ran more smoothly and the Briton posted 62 laps on his way to third sport on the timesheet. The 2008 champion set the pace early in the afternoon with a 1m23.952s before a red flag for Adrian Sutil put a halt to that run, but despite losing out to Magnussen and Massa, an all-Mercedes top four that racked up a total of 201 laps will surely bring a smile to engineers at the company’s Brixworth technology centre.
Thirty-four laps for Sutil and fifty-seven for Fernando Alonso showed that Ferrari’s power-train is also enjoying some reliability, whilst the Italian marque’s third customer, Marussia, rolled out their latest machine – the MR03 – this afternoon to complete a handful of installation laps in the hands of Max Chilton.
Jerez Test 2014 – Day Three times
1. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1m23.276s 52 Laps
2. Felipe Massa Williams 1m23.700s 47
3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m23.952s 62
4. Jenson Button McLaren 1m25.030s 40
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m25.495s 58
6. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m26.096s 17
7. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m29.915s 30
8. Adrian Sutil Sauber 1m30.161s 34
9. Robin Frijns Caterham No time 10
10. Max Chilton Marussia No time 5
11. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing No time 3