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Hamilton on top as Red Bull Racing suffer another setback
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Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  21 Feb 2014   |  4:33 pm GMT  |  256 comments

Lewis Hamilton finished the third day of testing in Bahrain at the top of the timesheet, as Red Bull Racing suffered another set-back, the team ending running early after Daniel Ricciardo had completed just 28 laps.

Hamilton spent the morning focusing on short runs and spent the best part of the day almost three seconds ahead of his rivals. His best time of the day was a 1:34.263 set on soft tyres. The Briton retired to the garage for a spell in the afternoon while Mercedes worked on a hydraulic problem but later emerged to work through longer runs, eventually topping out at 67 laps for the day.

Jenson Button finished the day in second position, seven tenths adrift of his former team-mate after clocking 1:34.976 on super soft tyres. The McLaren driver was the busiest man on track, however, putting in 103 laps of the Sakhir circuit for his second place on the timesheet.

Mercedes-powered cars again led the way, with Williams’ Felipe Massa posting 60 laps and a third fastest time of 1:37.066. The Brazilian, who had been restricted to just five laps on day one of the test, was given extra time in the car today, with Valtteri Bottas handing over the Massa after the Finn had spent the morning lapping but not recording a time as he repeatedly headed for pit lane to give his crew pit stop practice.

While Mercedes were driving forward – so much so that they could turn their attention to performance runs – Red Bull Racing were going backwards.

Daniel Ricciardo completed just over 20 laps before the team discovered a mechanical problem while making set-up changes during the lunch break and after five more laps in the afternoon, the team again called a halt to track running with Race Engineering co-ordinator Andy Damerum admitting that with the car needing to be dismantled it was better to focus on tomorrow’s running.

Once again, though, the champions weren’t the only team with issues. Ferrari’s hopes of early morning running were wiped out by telemetry problems and by the midway point of the day Kimi Raikkonen managed just 12 laps. He went on to a total of 44 by the end of the day, however, and a best time of 1:37.476.

Lotus’ problems continued, too. Pastor Maldonado, making his first appearance with his new team, started well but soon brought out the red flags, stopping just before lunchtime with a gearbox issue. Maldonado was soon sentback out on track but stopped again shortly after. He managed just 26 laps.

Elsewhere, Daniil Kvyat had a useful day at the wheel of Toro Rosso’s STR9, the Russian teenager recording 57 laps and posting a best time of 1:38.974 late on to finish seventh on the timesheet, ahead of Maldonado. Despite delays early in the morning Sergio Perez clocked up 57 laps for Force India and finished fifth-fastest. Marussia, meanwhile, had to carry out an engine on Max Chilton’s car when the Briton stopped after just four laps but the team was unable to complete the change before the end of the session.

Bahrain Test 1 – Day Three Times
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.263s 67 laps
2. Jenson Button McLaren 1:34.976s  +0.713s 103 laps
3. Felipe Massa Williams 1:37.066s  +2.803s 60 laps
4. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:37.180s  +2.917s 96 laps
5. Sergio Perez Force India 1:37.367s  +3.104s 57 laps
6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:37.476s  +3.213s 44 laps
7. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:38.974s  +4.711s 57 laps
8. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:39.642s  +5.379s 26 laps
9. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:40.781s  +6.518s 28 laps
10. Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:42.130s  +7.867s 98 laps
11. Max Chilton Marussia 1:46.672s  +12.409s 4 laps
12. Valtteri Bottas Williams no time 55 laps

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256 Comments
  1. JB says:

    I think Mclarens and Mercedes are going to be top contenders as long as the Renault powered teams are having problems.

    Not sure if Ferrari are going to be competitive or are they going to have another #2 spot year. LOL…

    I look forward to see how Vettel handle the pressure of other teams being stronger than his. I have no doubt that he will handle it wisely though..

    1. Jim:) says:

      Think ferrari will be up there, quietly confident :)

      Off topic just read in a german website that Alonso was doing 336 km/h down the straight, 22 km/h more then last year at Bahrain

      1. Richard says:

        Fuel loads. The main unknown.

      2. ManOnWheels says:

        Note that the impact of fuel load is less important now, as the difference of full and empty tanks is 30% less.

      3. Goggomobil says:

        Spot on,according to number of F1 observers Ferrari is way ahead in the packaged power unit in total, then its competitors,
        Many contributors to JA site have blinkers on
        their eyes,however a true indication how good the individual single seater is, will came at the next test at Bahrain just before the departure for Melbourne.

      4. Richard says:

        That’s easily explained in that the cars have less drag, and probably more power. Since the regulations constrained the aero from producing less downforce also translates into less drag, unfortunately it also translates into less grip around the bends.

      5. forestial says:

        What’s unfortunate about a reduction in the aero influence on F1? Over-reliance on aero performance has been one of the negatives for the last several years because of the negative effect it has on overtaking.

      6. Richard says:

        forestial: Yes I quite agree, but lack of grip can be compensated for by increasing the tyre size to some degree.

      7. Limelee says:

        The new gearboxes will be to account for that. Gone are the days of changing ratios, same will be used in Monza as will be used in Monaco. Meaning that all the available power is available at all races, and don’t expect to see cars unable to overtake because they hit the limiter, there will always be extra power available in the races!

  2. Michael Spitale says:

    I feel like a broken record, but every day it gets more and more clear that the Merc powered cars are beyond the clear cut favorites this year. Ferrari seem to be the only car with a prayer of catching a Merc powered car and that seems like a long shot more and more.

    1. Laurence says:

      Is it possible that RBR will be thinking ahead to the 2015 season, much as McClaren did last year?

    2. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      How can you tell though. Mercs could be running their engine, turbos and recovery system gizmos at say 95% in Bahrain and Renault, with their issues, could be running their powertrains and associated guff at say 75% total.

      Another thing, what incentive has the Merc works team got in providing McLaren et all with their most recent spec engines when they themselves could bag tons of points in the initial races. Never has there been a start to a season where customer teams potentially could be so easily slightly compromised to benefit the works teams.

      1. Michael Spitale says:

        If it was just the works team, or even them and McLaren. However, all 4 Merc powered cars look fast and reliable.

      2. Darren says:

        This would have been an issue 10 years of ago but now a days the engine development is ceased prior to the start of the season, it says so in the article too. So after the freeze a merc engine is a merc engine there can be no updated version.

        I know what you mean though it is a little strange. Don’t think there has been this situation before where a manufacturer will be probably be in direct competition for the title with its customer.

      3. Steve W says:

        Or maybe Renault have to run at 75% because they are unable to run at 95%. Maybe that will change, maybe it won’t…

      4. Ben says:

        You are bang on the nose. I have a very reliable source who told me that Mercedes have kept the best engines for themselves and are only giving certain update parts to McLaren. They are also going through ridiculous lengths to keep Honda away from their power unit’s with all sorts of misdirection, different shaped exhaust etc.

        I believe you are right about the Renault power unit only running at 75% but I don’t think that’s by choice…

  3. Blackmamba says:

    We have only got 3 weeks to race weekend and RedBull are really going to struggle to produce a competitive car in that time. They may have to write off this year and just go for a strong package that finishes races although not troubling the top end of the grid. The problems they seem to be encountering are fundamental flaws with no quick fix and obviously it is not the power unit as Caterham are pounding around and racking up the miles. They got to accept that Newey does produce duds from time to time, raise their hands and work towards functionality In order to at least finish the races. From there you can ring a baseline that can then facilitate in-season development as well as working towards 2015.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Ever noticed that if there is a 4 in the year – 1994, 2004 and now 2014 – Adrian comes up with a stinker? OK, the 1994 Williams won the constructors title, but at the start of the season it was awful to drive and taken to the cleaners by Michael/Benny axis. The 2004 Macca MP4-19 was ugly, unreliable and slow, and by the time the team brought up the vastly superior MP4-19B mid season Ferrari and Michael had the title bought and paid for.
      Is it possible that the number 4 in a year jinx has struck Adrian again? Or just coincidence?

    2. Jean-Christophe says:

      I wouldn’t write RBR off just yet. They’ve shown how resilient they can be. We don’t know how fast the car can be once they and Renault have fixed their issues. Even if they start on the back foot, which we’ll only know when the season starts, they could still come back trounce the competition. Especially if the Mercedes powered teams and Ferrari take points off each other

    3. Luke says:

      Red Bull Honda in 2015 is my guess!

    4. Chuck 32 says:

      For a moment let us set aside our passions, prejudices and biased speculations. We are witnesses to something extraordinary – F1 as exemplified by the challenges of the 2014 season is human endeavor at the very highest level. All the teams in F1 have one thing in common – they learn, adapt and react at a furious rate. They are purpose built, problem solving organizations aligned to a single very clearly defined purpose. The leading teams spent 1.5 MILLION man/hours annually (750 employees) racing in F1 – hopefully, 38 of them are spent driving the race distances.
      To date a leading team has solved 99.5% of their homework, the trailing teams have solved 98%. From the cheap seats it appears some are wrong, others correct. We must recognized the worst are brilliant, the best are unique – for the moment.

      1. Grant says:

        +1000
        Well said man

      2. Dr Destructo says:

        Post of the year!

      3. kenneth chapman says:

        i somehow don’t think that red bull/renault have solved 98% of their homework? also include toro rosso here as well.

        homework is due for completion and on the teachers desk in roughly three weeks time…if unsatisfactory, go to the back of the classroom and we’ll discuss further with the headmaster.

    5. Richard says:

      I think the truth is that Newey is a great aerodynamicist, but not a great powertrain engineer. Adequate cooling is vital this year, and they cannot afford to have an ERS failure.

    6. NJ says:

      Never count out a team that disregards budget caps and resource restrictions.

  4. Yona says:

    Nice Lewis

    1. Malcolm says:

      Encouraged to read that, Lewis felt the car seems to be responding to his style of driving.

      1. Grant says:

        And that could mean a lot trouble for his competitors.

      2. Kay-Gee says:

        Oh I think we going to see his full potential this year.

  5. Michael says:

    It looks like the V6 is not going to be that slow after all.

    1. Kamui Fan says:

      It’s the engine/power unit is more powerful than the v8 units overall with more low down torque too. This track has two nice long straights, so that helps claw back some time.

      1. Grant says:

        You make it sound like that’s a problem.

    2. Spyros says:

      In outright pace, this seems to be the case. But the key will be to see how much of the race they can actually do at full speed, i.e. NOT saving fuel.

      Mercedes AND McLaren do their short runs by doing a ‘cool-down’ lap between timed laps. This could be something to benefit the tyres, and/or to allow the batteries to recharge… so a good indicator for qualy, not so much for the race, though.

      Comparing the winner’s total race time to last year’s time, at the end of the first race, will tell the full story. Until then, we literally know nothing…

      Here’s a hypothetical scenario: in Melbourne, Ferrari qualifies 1.5s a lap slower than the pole sitting Merc, but they can recharge their batteries better and more consistently under braking (and elsewhere), so they win the race half a lap ahead of the nearest Merc…

      Oh and Marussia get their first F1 points! :D

      1. Diabolo says:

        Could be great to see that but i’m afraid that Marussia will not find bakc its reliability found last year. Only 50 laps on 6 days of testing…

      2. Spyros says:

        Yup, but the base underneath seems solid, as Ferrari itself has shown repeatedly. Marussia’s problems seem software-related (if I understand their use of the term ‘IT’), so it’s not inconceivable that they could feature in the top 10, if the Renault teams make themselves scarce!

        It’s still a hypothetical scenario, of course… frankly, I don’t think Mercedes is all that likely to have any harvesting issues (as my prior scenario assumes), I was simply trying to illustrate how little this testing really tells us about what to expect. We won’t really know what’s going on until the last 10 laps in Melbourne.

  6. Valentino from montreal says:

    Now is Alonso’s and company best chance on beating Sebastian Vettel .. Just like in 2005 , the new regulations are handicapping the world champion and the world championship team …

    It’s already looking like a very flawed championship …

    What’s that saying ? ” If you can’t beat them , change the rules ! “

    1. Anil Parmar says:

      Tbf, the rules were initially announced for 2013 way back in like what, 2010/early 2011, before RB ever dominated.

      1. tarun says:

        I dont understand why f1 fans complain so much..the new rules has reinvigorated the interest in f1…bring on melbourne!

      2. Richard says:

        Red Bull dominated since the 2nd half of the 2009 season. I believe these rules were planned in 2010 for the 2013 season and onwards.

      3. KRB says:

        Yes, for 2013. If anything, RBR and Vettel should be thankful that it was pushed back a year … they won 13/19 in 2013! Some teams would bite their own arms off for a season like that.

    2. Gaz Boy says:

      Indeed. It is the 4/5 year theory………every 4 or 5 years the rules have a major overhaul that denude the advantage of the reigning world champions!
      2004 – Ferrari couldn’t stop winning. 2005 – Ferrari couldn’t stop loosing!
      2008 – Macca and Prancing Horse slug it in WDC and constructors titles, winning 14 of the 18 races between them.
      2009 – Oh dear, Macca and Italian stallion have a shocker, relegated to dirt trackers behind Brawn and Bull, going from 14 wines in 2008 to a mere 3 in 2009.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Typo Error: sorry wins, not wines! Having said that during the summer of 2009 I wouldn’t be surprised if the mechanics at Macca and Ferrari got sloshed out of their brains after the race to try and forget what an awful season they were having!

      2. Ben says:

        Champagne is a type of wine right?

      3. Kay-Gee says:

        lol Ben, perfect fit!

    3. veeru says:

      Ridiculous

    4. Snailtrail says:

      Much of a Vettel fan

      F1 is all about change and its up to the teams and drivers to adapt – after all F1 is a team sport – which a lot of followers seem to miss.

    5. Elie says:

      Please don’t use “Alonso & Co” best chance – you know it upsets me. You either say Ferrari or Kimi : )

    6. Grant says:

      Lewis was dominating in 2008, when the rules disadvantaging him and his team.

      1. Rockie says:

        Lewis has never dominated F1.
        Domination means total control, in recent times only MSC and Vettel have dominated!

      2. Michael says:

        Mo more domination, please. This sport needs parity. I’m hoping Vettel’s time in the sun is over. Vetteel and Schumacher’s so call domination has hurt this sport tremendously. I don’t want to go through another season like last year. It was predictable and quite frankly boring.

      3. Kay-Gee says:

        Button did too, and maybe alonso when he was driving renault

      4. KRB says:

        You need the best car to dominate, and Hamilton has never had the outright best car. 2007 was the best car he’s had, but the Ferrari was just as good that year, plus he had the 2xDWC as his teammate, as a rookie!

        2008 was the second best car he’s had, but the Ferrari was a bit better that year. He made mistakes, but Felipe and Kimi and Ferrari made more (and had some hard luck too), opening the door for Hamilton to sneak it.

        Other than that, he hasn’t had a car with a realistic chance at the title. 2010 was the next best, and he did have a chance at the title that year, but mainly b/c of RBR tripping over themselves through that season. If he had won then, it would’ve been like 2008, winning against a better car. Since that season, RBR have been machine-like in their operational efficiency.

        Vettel, Alonso & Button have all had the benefit of the best car, so I don’t see why anyone should begrudge Hamilton if Merc happens to be the best car this season (and that’s still TBD of course). He left one of the traditional “big two” F1 teams, fully knowing he would have a fairly barren 2013 season, all for the promise of a good 2014 season. He might not be your favourite driver, but recognize and appreciate how ballsy a move it was.

      5. Gaz Boy says:

        Good post, but don’t forget Lewis also was tempted to Merc but a big juicy salary increase as well as potential of 2014 car. Macca refused to budge with Lewis over a salary increase, where as Ross and Merc came to Lewis with a blank chequebook and the promise of a championship winning machine, so in 2014 Lewis has got potentially – potentially! – an excellent car and a more financial reward.

      6. Uncle Bumber says:

        Wait a minute didn’t Mclaren offer Lewis a higher salary then Mercedes were offering after they realised he was seriously considering going to Mercedes ?

        Initially i remember reading Mclaren lowballed him and were looking to pay him less then Button because they thought he hand no where to go ?

        So he accepted a lower wage with a team that had a car that was less competitive then the Mclaren.

  7. Ross McDougall says:

    James with all there troubles what are the chances of RBR switching engine suppliers next year if the Renault plant turns out to be totally uncompetitive, are they under contract with Renault or could they switch say to merc as McLaren are leaving which might free up a space for them ?

    1. James Allen says:

      I think that would be very hard contractually! I also don’t see Ferrari or Mercedes rushing to give their main rival an equal power plant!!

      1. Iwan says:

        True. What about Honda?

      2. fullthrottle says:

        Don’t you think RBR may have a back exit if the PU is not competitive? Or when you say contractually you mean no other manufacturer will supply them with a PU for next year?

        Cheers.

      3. Richard says:

        Ferrari and Merc won’t, but we Honda is back in town next year. I wouldn’t be surprised if they (Honda) are willing to supply Red Bull with engines.

      4. Jean-Christophe says:

        You don’t know how good the Honda engine will be, do you? Horner said that one of Renault’s main issue is developing the ERS. Up until now, they left that to the teams (KERS) while Ferrari and Mercedes would provide the whole package. Honda may well find themselves facing the same challenge. If I were RBR, I’d stick to Renault

      5. Jean-Christophe says:

        And I doubt that McLaren won’t have a say

      6. Tim says:

        Not a chance. There can only be one works team and for now, that’s McLaren.

      7. Witan says:

        There is always Honda. And that might be a good fit in terms of style and DNA of both partners?

      8. FerrariFan says:

        I don’t think McLaren and Ron Dennis will let that happen so easily. They must have some exclusivity agreement in place. If Honda wants to recover money, they might supply to some uncompetitive team or a new team.

        I think we are all writing off renault too early. This is the engine supplier that has powered red bull to so much success. Obviously they have talent and intelligent people. They came up with exotic engine maps and off throttle exhaust blowing, which the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes couldn’t match.

      9. Lee Staples says:

        At least for 2015, I don’t think there’s any way McLaren would allow Honda to supply Red Bull. McLaren has made a big deal in press releases about their Honda deal being “exclusive”. Of course, Honda wants to supply other teams, but even if they do in the future, I don’t think McLaren would stand for Honda supplying Red Bull.

      10. Querfeldein says:

        But Honda is a key competitor of Renault/Nissan/Infiniti, much more so than Mercedes. I don’t see that move happening. Redbull-Honda has a ring to it, but I don’t think it’s realistic.

        Also, while Red Bull may be stuck for the current season, it’s by no means certain that Honda’s first power unit in 2015 will be better than Renault’s second incarnation.

        Experience from 1988 sounds good for press releases and marketing, but it counts for nothing in 2014.

        If Mercedes completely dominate, I think a change in regulation is much more likely.

      11. NickH says:

        I’m sure Mclaren would be a bit miffed if that happened

      12. Elie says:

        Well I don’t know if Red Bulls contract includes dedicating many millions or Euros to developing Renaults power unit- in particular the ERS for them only for it to fail. Im dure their must be a “get out clause” in their if certain parameters are not met .

        True though they have little option next year given Ferrari & Merc will be smiling a gleeming NO their way. It will be interesting if Honda can be open to deals in 2015 . But then Renault maybe a far better product by then. Ohh the pain of not winning ..

    2. Sri says:

      Vettel said it right: They have had good partnership for the last 4 years! I think they will not forget that. Yes, they may have a bad year, but such things happen in F1. The only issue is engine freeze in a week, not sure if Renault can change anything after that.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Having the engines homologated so early is very, very bizarre. If I remember back in 2006 with the V8s the homologation deadline was the Italian Grand prix in September, so the engine suppliers had 6 to 7 months to get their units sorted out.
        Surely homologation should have been done around Italy this year as well?
        Still, thats those cheese eating bizarre decision making monkeys at the FIA for you.

      2. Chromatic says:

        I’ve heard the rules provide a ‘get out’ clause on safety grounds, so Renault may still make improvements beyond freeze …

      3. KRB says:

        Too true. Dance with the one who brought ya … all those WCCs/WDCs. I can’t believe the number of chocolate soldier fans out there, who are giving it to Renault now. It’s the way it goes sometimes in F1.

        Renault has arguably been the most successful F1 engine maker EVER. The period that RBR and Renault have just come through is one of the most successful periods of all time in F1. It would be nuts for RBR to be anything but loyal to Renault, and to work through this together.

      4. Rockie says:

        They are second most successful behind Ferrari!
        Also not saying they should change suppliers, whats the loyalty about if Renault cant get to grips with the new PU requirements what’s the point of staying?
        After all they are in it to win not to be sentimental!

      5. KRB says:

        The reason why I said ‘arguably’ is b/c Renault has not been in F1 as long as Ferrari has. Renault only started in 1977, and skipped ’87-’88 and ’98-’00. If you just look at the seasons contested by both Renault and Ferrari powered cars, in titles it’s 12-10 for Renault engines. And among engines with over 50 wins to their name, Renault has the best winning percentage (just edging out Ford-Cosworth). Renault already holds the outright lead in poles vis-a-vis Ferrari … when counting the years where both participated, it’s over 2:1 in Renault’s favour (213-105).

        Rockie, think about it. Where would RBR go to? The reason why McLaren is leaving Mercedes to go to Honda is that they realize they need that ‘works’ status to have a really good run at the titles. RBR is the current Renault ‘works’ team, and I don’t see any other engine makers coming into F1 anytime soon.

        Renault will get to grips with their PU, there’s no doubt. Renault is playing catch up on the ERS front, b/c of the former Renault factory team deciding to place responsibility for KERS onto their race team and their customers at the time.

        It MIGHT be a lean year, but as I’ve said before, ANYONE would take one lean year out of five, considering how good the good years were.

        I fear there are many fairly-new-to-F1 RBR fans out there that have never really had to suffer through a down year or two.

    3. Rockie says:

      Redbull are not changing engine supplier anytime, one swallow does not make a summer!

  8. Gaz Boy says:

    Oh no, not again, Red Bull terminating their involvement due to more problems………
    Still, at least Dan got 28 laps under his belt, which is better than nothing, but considering Jenson did nearly four times as many laps with no problems, it does indicate at the minute if you want to get ahead, get a Merc V6.
    Still, if its any crumb of comfort for Bull, Lotus/Enstone is having issues as well, while Ferrari are there-abouts but not quite there.
    On a separate note, I was watching some of the excellent BBC Classic F1, and my goodness, how things change in 30 odd years particularly with regards to safety. If you watch footage from the original Kyalami – which was basically a mega long straight with fast sweepers in between – notice than on the outside of the esses there is an unprotected earth bank. Yes, thats right, an unprotected earth bank just waiting for an F1 car to smash into. Fortunately, that never happened. Having said that, the old Kyalami was epic, and it it terrible that it was so badly mutilated into the present configuration!
    Also a bit alarming was the old Osterriechring, which like the old Silverstone was long straights connected by mega fast corners. One of those long straights fed into the Bosch curve which was approached at 200 Mph+…….with an armco barrier approaching you at 200 Mph! So if you had a brake/front axle/suspension failure you were going to break your legs, bare minimum, and at worse, possibly death: that it was happened to Mark Donohue in 1975 when a puncture pitched him into the barrier at undiminished speed (I don’t think it was at the Bosch curve, but there were other parts of the O-ring that had no high speed rub off). On other parts of the circuit, there was barbed wire fencing! Its lucky no driver there was ever beheaded in Austria!
    Oh to be a racing driver in the turbo era of the 80s…………they were very brave, courageous men.
    Thank goodness most of them are alive today to tell the tales of battles past.

    1. Mark Fulford says:

      Wow that’s a long post. Did you think of splitting it up into chapters

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Perhaps I should have yes. My point is in the previous turbo era of F1 it was the drivers legs were split into chapters………ask Martin Brundle about Dallas 1984.

    2. Grant says:

      Caterham did many laps the Renault engine.
      So that’s not where the problem is for RBR.

  9. Goob says:

    Does it matter? – come race day, they will be driving to deltas, and pushing DRS buttons… JV is the only person in F1 with any guts… at least he recognizes F1 is boring as hell for spectators… I hope more jurno’s fight back against F1, and it’s puppets masters.

  10. Anne says:

    Button on super soft tyres couldn´t top Hamilton´s time on soft? Either Mercedes is a rocket or McLaren has some issues to fix. Or maybe it´s both.

    1. Marcio says:

      Why do people, especially from the UK, puts Button on the same level as Lewis Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen and Alonso. Button is no doubt a nice guy but he doesn’t has the natural speed like the other four drivers i mentioned earlier. Button is in the league of Coulthard, Barrichello, Webber, Massa and Perez. So stop making a fool of yourself by saying that this guy is from the same level as KR, FA, LH and SV.

      Greetings from Rotterdam.

      1. Richard says:

        I think “people from the UK” can support whomever they wish!

        Any frankly, your assessment of Button is a bit weak considering he utterly trounced Barrichello in equal, Championship-winning, machinery.

        It’s fair to say he’s a touch slower than Lewis, but as shown by their partnership in equal machinery, Hamilton crashes more and has more technical issues over the same lengthy period.

        Button has other skills which meant he won the 2009 WDC, and any fool who says he only won because of the car fails to see that every driver only wins because of their car. Please be a little more reasoned in your arguments, especially when it comes to something like discussing “natural speed”, which is a bit dependent on quite a few factors!

      2. radi says:

        I agree that ‘people from UK’ can support who they wish.

        Lewis is the top pilot in F1. Perhaps sitting with him are Alonso and Raikonnen. Vettel a little below. Button way down the rank.

        He is a nice guy though.

      3. David in Sydney says:

        AND Button has Jessica Michiabata. Game over. :-)

      4. Gaz Boy says:

        Well said Richard. Lewis has an immense raw speed, but also an immense propensity to crash into other drivers. Ask Mark, Felipe, Pastor, Fernando, Hulky, Vatty, Kimi, Kamui, Romain and even Jenson when they were team-mates!
        Come to think of it, is there any driver who Lewis hasn’t hit?
        Lewis is at his best at controlling the race from the front, he is superb at that as he showed us last year in Hungary. If he can stick the Merc on pole, providing the car has the pace to stay at the front he will be superb. If he has to come through the pack…………well, lets see if he has improved.
        As for Jenson, no better at coming through the pack: Hungary 2006 and Canada 2011 for proof of that!

      5. Richard says:

        One has to be very careful with driver comparisons because different cars suit different drivers plus the formula. In addition the Pirelli tyre era has muddied the waters because without perfect set up and balance the race is lost.

      6. Goob says:

        2009 WDC was won by the double diffuser giving the driver a 1 second a lap headstart over the field… everything Button has done confirms it was purely the double diffuser and nothing else. Button simply has no speed…

        Some people say he has a smooth driving style… all I see is a slow driving style.

      7. avl0 says:

        He is kinda right though, button is a nice guy, and he has excellent race craft but he’s a good half a second a lap slower than hamilton.

      8. Andrew.F says:

        Trounced Barrichello in 2009.?
        Only at the beginning.
        Rubens (a confirmed #2) was beating him at the end of the season.!!

      9. NickH says:

        Hungary 2006 only about 8 cars finished. Button crashed into and ended Alonso’s race canada 2011 on the way to winning. As for Hamilton, when did he hit ‘Vatty’, Grosjean, Maldonado,? You mean they hit him? Hulkenberg? Ha. Hulk is one of the most dangerous drivers, he actually drove into Kimi Malaysia last year to stop Kimi overtaking

      10. Gaz Boy says:

        RE Goob and Nick H: Lewis nurfed Pastor out of the race in Monaco 2011, and dangerously put Vatty into the barrier in Brazil 2013. He also spoiled Fernando race in Malaysia 2011.
        And let’s not forget Lewis magnificent performance in Canada 2008 when he crashed into the back of Kimi IN THE PITLANE!
        The fact remains, Lewis has had more incidents/accidents with his fellow drivers than just about anyone I think of it. I think Lewis believes the other drivers will just jump out of his way. They won’t.

      11. Alexis says:

        I’m no JB fan, but he does have the same number of world championships as LH, and the compatriots you list have zero between them.

      12. Richard says:

        But Hamilton has never had a dominant car just competitive.

      13. Arnie S says:

        Was it JB who made it dominant that year? There’s always a different view. You can’t neglect the fact that VET won 4 WDC. That’s almost unique.

      14. Anil Parmar says:

        I’ve never heard of anyone here in the UK saying he’s at the highest level.

      15. Gaz Boy says:

        In all fairness Jenson has won a world championship which does put him in exalted company. And unlike Kimi and Lewis in their championship years, he didn’t make a single terminal mistake during a race – at Belgium 2009 he was taken out by a stupid Grosjean. Kimi was outdriven by Felipe in 2007 at Bahrain, Spain, Monaco, Turkey and Brazil – although Felippe very generously moved over for him at Interlagos. As for Lewis, he crashed into Fernando at Bahrain 2008 (although he was able to continue) and Kimi at Canada 2008, as well as a stupid do or die mission at first corner at Fuji. So both Kimi and Lewis are human.
        As for Fernando, he was taken to the cleaners by Lewis in 2007, while Lewis himself was outperformed consistently by Jenson in 2011. Fernando is great, but he can be petulant if things aren’t going his way. Remember Hungary 2007 or even his outburst against Luca last year in Budapest?
        I’m not particularly partisan towards Jenson, but I think he is just as good as all the drivers you mentioned, he just achieves results in different ways.
        Like using his head, for example.

      16. Jaggers1066 says:

        Jenson’s championship victory was won in a vastly superior car, what was less impressive was his failure to secure a pole position, a race victory or even a fastest lap after the 7th race in Turkey, leaving him clinging on desperately to win the championship in Brazil. Comparing Hamilton’s mistakes in 2008, in what was only his 2nd F1 season, to Jensons performance in his 9th season in F1 is a tad unfair. 2011 was an outstanding year for Jenson but it was flattered by Hamilton underperforming, despite winning 3 races.

      17. Gaz Boy says:

        Re Jaggers1066: sour grapes I’m afraid. Wasn’t Rubens also driving that vastly superior car?
        I’ve heard the same old theory with regards to Damon and Our Nige won they won their worlds titles. “They only won because they had the best car.” What about their team-mates then?
        As for Lewis underperforming in 2011, I would say if you’re a professional racing driver earning a big juicy salary you should always perform and the fact that Lewis didn’t that year smacks of unprofessionalism.

      18. brad says:

        I’m a jb and lh fan and while no one can touch the speed of Lewis ,Jenson is a shrewd and very fast operator. I would back him to win another wdc without a doubt given a top car. Lewis can win a wdc in a washing machine

      19. Random 79 says:

        “Lewis can win a wdc in a washing machine”

        But not a Mercedes apparently…

      20. Gaz Boy says:

        Provided he doesn’t drive that washing machine into Pastor, Hulky, Felipe, Sebastian, Jenson, Vatty, Kimi et al…………….
        For a driver of his ability Lewis does seem to have a lot of incidents/accidents with his colleagues.

      21. NickH says:

        Yeah remember the stretch in 2012 when Jenson could barely get out of Q1 and Lewis was sticking it on pole. Button scored about 5 points over the stretch of 4 or 5 races whilst Hamilton won in Canada. Hamilton also broke down from definite 25 points in the bag slam dunk wins in Singapore and Abu Dhabi. How many times has Jenson broken down whilst winning for Mclaren. Oh yeah never.! Hamilton sent to the back of the grid in Spain 2012 after getting pole, he still actually beat Jenson in the race! How embarrassing. Didn’t ‘come through the pack’ too well there.

      22. Gaz Boy says:

        Re Nick H: Remember Canada 2008 when Lewis smashed his nose into Kimi’s rear axle/wing? Or Spa 2011 when he stupidly pulled over on Kamui and went into the barrier? Or Interlagos 2012 when he had an accident with Hulky?
        Selective memory I guess. Lewis has raw speed, but his ability to have accidents with other drivers is truly remarkable!

      23. Uncle Bumber says:

        Re Gaz boy

        You are delusional or you need some glasses if you think Hulkenburg did not spin into Hamilton in Interlagos, next you will be saying Lewis drove in to Grosjean at Spa LOL

      24. Gaz Boy says:

        RE Uncle Bumber: Why is it when ever there is a collision Lewis is always – always – involved? Yes, technically you’re right – Hulky did hit Lewis. But what goes around comes around and if you keep on nurfing other drivers one day they will nurf you out.
        Can Lewis go one season without running into somebody? I’d bet he must of cost Macca a fortune in broken carbon fibre.

      25. fullthrottle says:

        I’m from Spain and come race day if the car is to JB’s liking he will beat Hamilton, IMO. This year regulations should suit JB the most, so maybe you are in for surprise, or not, if hedoesn’t get THE set-up on most races.

      26. Rich B says:

        button in the league of barrichello?? who was button’s teammate when he won his title?

        button is still the only man to finish ahead of Hamilton in the same team too. (don’t say it was because lewis was crying over his girl dumping him, poor excuse)

        ok anyone would chose vettel/lewis/Alonso but when JB has the car to his precise liking he can match them. beating vettel at suzuka 2011 being his finest example

      27. Michael says:

        You’re absolutely correct. Button doesn’t rate with those drivers u mentioned. In fact his rookie teammate Kevin Magnusson I have no doubt will be quicker than him. People also have to remember this is the reason Hamilton left Mclaren. This move was all predicated on the new engine and regulation changes for 2014. What’s going on at Merc should not be a surprise.

      28. Andrew J says:

        Everyone has their opinions and they’re entitled to hold them. Racing is about more than speed, it’s about not breaking your car, not crashing it and scoring points. As has often been quoted, over their time together at McLaren it was a very close run thing, and both Lewis and Jenson have one world championship each. On that basis, it’s a fair comparison.

      29. Olivier says:

        True. Alonso, Vettel, Kimi and Hamilton have that raw edge. It makes them exciting to watch.

        The new rules seem to favor the likes of Button and Rosberg. Especially Button’s smooth intelligent driving style could make him a likely Championship contender. It depends when McLaren is going to switch the resources to the 2015 Honda car. They won’t make the same mistake as Red Bull …

        I think car number 6 will be the 2014 World Champion.

      30. James says:

        “Button is in the league of Coulthard, Barrichello, Webber, Massa and Perez”

        Excuse me? So Coulthard, Barrichello, Webber, Massa and Perez have all won a World Championship? Like it or not that fact alone puts Button in a different league to the drivers you mention.

        [mod]

      31. Grant says:

        But JB’s WDC was a steal.

      32. Andrew J says:

        Re: Grant

        A steal? How so?

        Brawn weren’t the only team with double diffusers, and they had no budget to develop the car over the season whilst other teams caught up.

        No more of a steal than any other driver who has won a championship in a car which was better than the rest at the outset of the season.

      33. Limelee says:

        I would actually fancy Jensons chances if the car is half decent. Jenson will get good results if he has a car which he can qualify well in, If Mercedes engines are ahead Jenson should qualify In the top 4 and from that position he generally scores big points. If his car is reliable and consistent, there is no reason to think he can’t be world champion.

      34. Roger W says:

        Me too

      35. avl0 says:

        What makes you think he will be able to qualify well though? One lap speed has historically been his weak point. In fact arguably he’s one of the top drivers around at the moment apart from his lack of qualifying pace.

      36. jake says:

        Assuming the PU is the dominant factor and the Merc unit is the one to have, there are 8 merc powered cars on the grid. I think Jenson will be doing really well to get in the top four qualifying regularly. Hamilton, Rosberg and his own team mate will be quicker over one lap and we still have FI and Williams. Massa and the Hulk will not be waving Button past for sure.
        He will probably do better in the race provided McLaren improve their game plan, they have made some bad calls in recent years. I guess Buttons chances this year depend on how beneficial starting from the front row is this year. If it.s not so important he should do well otherwise he will have to rely on consistency and reliability. Reliability is not a given this year.

      37. Limelee says:

        If be surprised if Jenson was the slowest in a merc powered car. I think McLaren and Mercedes look the early favourites. It’s up to Jenson to get the best out his car in qualifying and he’ll have a chance. The McLaren looks solid and he should have the racing brain to outwit his team mate. If his car is comparable to the Mercedes then we now he has what it takes to challenge Hamilton and rosberg. I don’t think it will be easy for him, and if he can’t get the car near the front then we have seen in the past that he can’t get the best results unless the conditions change. If reliability is a big problem for the field then it should level the playing field somewhat. With the car advantage it looks like Mercedes have at the moment, breakdowns may be the only thing that stops them building a big advantage. If Mercedes have built a reliable car which is also the quickest, then it’s going to be Hamiltons championship to lose.

      38. Limelee says:

        @AvIO. I think that mainly because it doesn’t look like there is going to be stiff competition in qualifying. Last year, Jenson was usually out qualified by Red Bull, Mercedes, 1 Ferrari and 2 Lotus cars. The Renault powered cars don’t look too good and the Ferrari is a bit unknown. He’ll qualify well because the others will qualify worse!

      39. Rockie says:

        Why not Jenson has the same number of WDC as two guys you mention there perhaps not as consistent as Vettel and Alonso or as fast as Vettel but he was a match for Hamilton at Mclaren.

    2. AuraF1 says:

      Or maybe it’s testing and nobody knows anything and even when everyone says ‘these times are beyond meaningless’ everyone is still determined to predict the entire season. Ah human nature! :)

      1. fullthrottle says:

        But there’s only one ferrari powered car that can be fighting for the championship anyway, same with renault. So merc powered cars on top, and maybe ferrari and RBR. Safest prediction ever, saying nothing actually, but it’s not my predicton, every pundit and journo says so.

      2. Tyemz says:

        “Every pundit and journo says so”
        Their own human nature perhaps? At this stage, they can only do as much to compare between teammates. comparing drivers of different teams when they have limited information on the programmes they are running is just wild guessing.

      3. avl0 says:

        Maybe, but from lockups and running wide etc you know lewis was pushing for his 1:34.2 today. Considering after seeing lewis’ time jenson said the merc had more downforce than the mclaren you can assume that jensons 1:34.8 he was also pushing and that they’re going to be running at over 90% of max power.

        So i think we’re getting towards more representative times. I’d expect with aero upgrades next week and the last bits of power/ qualifying mode and some super softs to see the merc drop into the 1:32′s.

    3. Sri says:

      Just to put the cat amongst the pigeons: it could be the ….driver!

      1. Anne says:

        That could be a factor as well. But I´going to wait for the season to go after drivers.

    4. Richard says:

      More fuel?

      1. Anne says:

        Don´t think so.Nobody can do long runs on super soft. So why anyone on super soft would need more fuel?

      2. NJ says:

        If you start with Super-Soft Tyres on Sunday they would be pressed down by a full tank of fuel. So the conditions for that would also need to be tested.

    5. Michael says:

      It’s very simple Hamilton is driving a better car.

      1. jake says:

        Or Button subconcsiously fell back into his old habit, lapping 0.5 seconds slower than Hamilton… 3:)

    6. Andrew J says:

      Or maybe the fact that it’s testing, teams were running different programmes and therefore you can’t draw any concrete conclusions.

    7. F1Fan says:

      Do you know their fuellevels?

    8. Richard says:

      I think there is also another dimension in that the characteristics of the car seem to suit Lewis’s driving style. – Torquey engine with looser back end. It’s still far too early to really say, but I think Kevin Magnussen is also going to be right up there.

      1. Kay-Gee says:

        Lol…you’re right, Kevin, not Button.

    9. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      or maybe a b-spec engine?

      or torque delivery differences, brake by wire issues, fuel weight, track conditions, tyre heating, sandbagging in a corner or two, couldn’t be gassed giving it more than 109% as it’s just a test ;)

      The best thing I’ve seen recently is just how the drivers are sliding about exiting corners to get the extra torque power down cleanly. Hope it makes for excellent wheel to wheel action.

  11. goferet says:

    Ha, seeing the way most teams have struggled today, maybe the teams should have requested for a 4th winter test because it appears some people won’t be ready for Melbourne.

    For sure teams such as Red Bull and Lotus, it would be pure luck if they can manage a race distance because unexpected glitches always crop up.

    Anyway good job by the Mercedes teams for locking out 4 of the top 5 positions, with this kind of performance, every team maybe forced to switch to their engines.

    Blistering pace from Lewis and taking into account the fact Lewis isn’t in the habit of running with low fuel, the fans can only sit back and wonder exactly how fast the W05 is.

    Now of the big boys, it’s only the Mclaren boys that have decided to try out the super softs, maybe this also means they have been running with less fuel.

    After Ferrari’s difficult day with the telemetry problems, I have just recalled that Kimi doesn’t like difficult cars especially ones with power steering issues.

    Yes, unlike Alonso who can handle difficult cars, Kimi will be left in the dust should these problems re-appear in the season.

    As for Williams, they surely must be back at the sharp end of the grid. This is the only reason I can think of why they would practice the pitstops this intensely.

    Right, as the experts said, it doesn’t appear we will have a Brawn-esque story in 2014 as the midfield teams appear to still be midfielders and the backmarkers still at the back.

    1. Graham says:

      Wiliams may be proving very ‘Claire’voyant here. Anticipating that the season will start with many technical problems for everyone, pit crew response to getting it sorted, at least for another 10 laps before something else goes wrong, may be the key to a win. The crews may be in for an unusually stressful workout this year.

      1. goferet says:

        @ Graham

        Good point man for just like in the jungle the hyena steals points when the others become careless.

    2. Dane says:

      Telemetry problems doesn’t mean the car is difficult to drive, it means the data isn’t being transmitted correctly. I haven’t seen Kimi complain of bad handling anywhere.

      1. goferet says:

        @ Dane

        No, I wasn’t referring to this winter testing but rather to his time at Lotus.

        Yes, Kimi did have a couple of handling issues whilst there.

    3. David in Sydney says:

      It’s only testing.

      1. goferet says:

        @ David in Sydney

        Lol… It sure is.

  12. Richard says:

    Yes good old Lewis! – Give him the right equipment and he delivers a blistering pace. While Button crept closer as the temperatures increased I think we are starting to see some relative performance here. Of course it’s all still guesswork and we won’t really know until Melbourne qualifying where everyone is. It’s starting to look a bit dismal for Renault powered machines, and it’s a good bet that some may not complete the course of which Red Bull may be among.

    1. SteveS says:

      “Give him the right equipment and he delivers a blistering pace.”

      As opposed to who, exactly?

      “it’s a good bet that some may not complete the course of which Red Bull may be among.”

      Based on what we’ve seen so far, there’s only a 50/50 chance that “Lewis” or any other driver will complete the first race.

      1. Richard says:

        Well look at it this way. On the whole the Mercedes powered cars seem to have the better reliability, Ferrari of course are also good.
        The Renault powered machines seem to be rather worst off with Red Bull being one of the worst cases perhaps due to aggressive packaging. Now they are all going to get better, more reliable over the next few weeks, but come a race distance under race conditions. The Mercedes car was pretty reliable out the box with what may be regarded as secondary issues now being addressed. Some of the Renault powered cars are going to manage it, however I suspect Red Bull will fail over a race distance due to overheat problems. I mean they haven’t even covered a race distance yet!

      2. Anil Parmar says:

        ‘Based on what we’ve seen so far, there’s only a 50/50 chance that ”Lewis” or any other driver will complete the first race.

        Where the hell did you get that from? Unless you’re a renault team, it’s only small issues which are cropping up so far.

      3. bk201 says:

        @Anil,

        It’s wishful thinking on “SteveS’” part! He’s just sore that the object of his gloryhunting will be hobbled come the start of the season!

      4. Sri says:

        Even small issues could easily cause a DNF.

      5. Tim says:

        @SteveS
        If the wind changes and your face stays like that, you’ll be sorry ;-)

    2. Peter says:

      …If the “right equipment” means the best…

    3. Andrew J says:

      “Give him the right equipment and he delivers a blistering pace.”

      Odd to hear that from a Lewis fan – when the same statement was made about Button it used to get pooh-poohed by the Hamiltonites!

      Fair play to Lewis, though, and as someone who has loyalty to my compatriots as well as individual drivers it’s good to see oth Lewis and Jenson at the top of the timesheets today. Hopefully it bodes well for the season ahead.

  13. fish says:

    mercedes and mclaren show this year? i wonder if mclaren is regretting going to Honda next year.
    Ferrari doesnt seem that quick

    1. Dave P says:

      No…all it will show is that Mercedes as a team with their own power plant will not be beatable… However, with Honda soley working for McLaren..it may be possible to beat Mercedes. Do not doubt Honda will come out with a tunning power plant….Its what they do best…

    2. Richard says:

      By the time they will have Honda engines, they have already gained plenty of experience with the new Power Unit.

      1. SONIA LUFF says:

        I was at the MTC 2 years ago and i’ve got a photo of a Mclaren with a 1600 turbo engine in the back of it. None of the other guests looked at it they were busy with the current ones but i noticed this particular car and fetched my hubby over to look at it. Needless to say we weren’t suprised when the annoucement came. A lot of work has been going on with that Honda power plant and it will be ready for next year

    3. Cliff says:

      Pay millions for Mercedes engines each year or become a works team in all but name and receive free engines from Honda, not to mention the technical assistance. Only time will tell if Honda can deliver, but cutting the links with Mercedes makes sense financially for McLaren.

  14. goferet says:

    Speaking of Riccardo, I wait and see if he can add his name in 2014 to the list of smiling speed merchants such as;

    Grosjean
    Vettel
    Rosberg
    Lewis
    Valentino Rossi
    Marc Marquez

    1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      You forgot to include Mark Webber. I bet he has a rather large smile on his face testing his Porsche at the moment ;)

      1. goferet says:

        @ Clarks4WheelDrift

        Lol… From what I recall, Webber’s smiles don’t last that long anyway.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Lol :)

      3. Rockie says:

        This is a response to the myopic and borderline silly comment you put in below as it seems you can’t differentiate between an opinion poster and a driver.
        After all is said and done you are one of the most vocal fans saying its the car not Vettel when he wins so if you have a car that can win on its own how on earth is 3rd place a good result?

      4. Rockie says:

        What smile would that be, based on his previous failure for the last 5 yrs?

      5. Random 79 says:

        You call coming 3rd in the championship in 3 of those 5 years a failure?

        Harsh.

        Have to say though I found it a bit strange that I couldn’t find your name in the top three anywhere in those five years.

      6. Random 79 says:

        I am “one of the most vocal fans saying its the car not Vettel when he wins” ???

        I’m not a Vettel supporter, but when have I ever said that? Go back and have a look – have a good look. You might find that when others have said a similar thing about Vettel (and others, most notably Jenson) I’ve actually gone and said the opposite: Yes you need a good car to win the championship, but you also need a driver that can take advantage of it which is what Vettel has done four years running and all credit to him for that.

        To follow on from that no, Webber did not make as good a use of the car as Vettel did for one reason or another, but at the same time it’s not like he came last either.

        Personally, if I had ever had the opportunity to come 3rd in the WDC in any car – fastest or not – I would have been pleased.

        Maybe that last comment was borderline silly, but the gist of it was how can any of us fans really judge any F1 driver without being one ourselves? Sure we know it’s difficult, sure we know they have to be super fit, and sure we know they’re under pressure – sometimes almost unbearable pressure – but how many fans really understand what it is like to do what they do for a living.

        I for one don’t, and I’d be surprised if there many that did.

        As an Aussie I’m proud of Mark and what he has achieved for himself, but that is my personal opinion and you’re perfectly entitled to disagree.

  15. shri says:

    Merc shows good reliability.

    Hard to read into the laptimes times for now.

    However Hamilton time so early in testing of only 2 sec from quali time in 2013 certainly means speed wise the cars may not be miles away from 2013 cars.

  16. Radley Hirsch says:

    Nice to see that no one’s said a word about the tires. Last season was severely compromised by them.

    1. Richard says:

      It will never go down as the best season to date or even close to that. Regardless of tires.

    2. Richard says:

      Well said! Indeed it was, but we have to wait to see how they last this year with less grip and torquey engines.

    3. Sri says:

      Once the cars are sorted out, then Pirelli will be in the firing range. They just need to wait for their opportunity to come after Renault and Red Bull.

  17. David H says:

    James hamilton said the car is suiting his style. Have you noticed out on track if he is attacking the car the way he likes to?

    I hoping he has sorted his problems out with the breaks.

    1. fullthrottle says:

      The regulations don’t really suit it’s driving style I think:

      - the tyres seem ok? merc has had the longest runs, haven’t read a word about degradation so I guess that’s good news for merc and specially Lewis (Nico doesn’t mind as much going slower to save rubber).

      - managing fuel in the races they’ll have to, is going to be a nightmare for Lewis IMO.

      - so much torque benefits smoother drivers like Jenson?

      - lock ups are recurrent in Lewi’s driving style, it didn’t matter with bridgestone, it was a problem with the pirelli until now, let’s see this year.

      none of this things matter when qualifying anyway so I expect some poles by him no matter what.

    2. Jonathan says:

      One of the reporters stated that the Mercedes powered cars were braking 80 metres later than the others – which is very much to Hamilton’s liking.

      It also says a lot about the MGU-K unit Mercedes have produced.

    3. kenneth chapman says:

      @ david H, please, give the guy a brake.

  18. AuraF1 says:

    I think Lewis is still the fastest natural one lap driver but it is a bit odd that everyone else with a headline time is accused of a desperate glory run but Lewis comes top and instantly he’s just accidentally proved he’s the greatest driver ever… ;)

    Honestly until the Melbourne aero package arrives these times mean nothing.

    1. yellowbelly says:

      +1

      Testing times are irrelevant, unless of course Lewis heads the charts. Congratulations to Jenson on his engagement to Jessica, by the way.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Yes, well done Jenson and Jessica. What took them so long?

      2. KRB says:

        Nope, yer wrong. The times still mean nothing at this stage.

        It is interesting that he set a faster time on the softs, whereas KM’s and JB’s times were on the supersoft. But I can’t imagine either Merc or McLaren were running full out on low fuel.

        Lauda said yesterday he wondered if they could match the Magnussen time. They did. Back to race sim’s now, hopefully.

      3. avl0 says:

        Lol, he knew they could, cmon. Believing anything niki lauda says is almost as bad as taking anything bernie says at face value.

    2. Richard says:

      That’s because he’s British and we like him and support him. – Nothing wrong in that, however Mercedes concentrated on their long runs on harder compounds first before they did the short runs on soft tyres. I think one can get an inkling from the final tests. Mercedes were strong in testing last year and they were quick qualifiers for quite some time. I’m only hoping Mercedes don’t have the tyre issues they had last year because their race pace was not good relatively, but maybe with the change Pirelli have done it will not be an issue. As you say we’ll have to wait for Melbourne to get a better understanding.

    3. David in Sydney says:

      If we could get F1 style timing screens for testing on the F1 timing app then we’d have a better idea what’s going on.

    4. jake says:

      Only the team will know for sure whether or not this was a “glory run”. We have to make a judgment call based on the little information we have available. Considering it was set very early in the session and on the soft tyres, not the super soft tyres, most people have probably accepted that Merc were testing different set ups as per their statement and put in a couple of fast laps as part of the test. They probably expected it would be beaten by others later in the session, so no, not a glory run.

    5. Rockie says:

      After accusing others you go he’s the fastest driver over a lap!
      How exactly did you determine that?

      1. AuraF1 says:

        I offered an opinion based on his years in F1 and the pundits opinions. I also wanted to point out that I’m not having a go at Lewis Hamilton. I just found it amusing that every comment section in testing has announced the headline time as a desperate sponsor seeking glory run but as soon as Lewis clocks the fastest it’s all talent. It was a comment on the fickle nature of many of the commentators. It was also light hearted so don’t get too upset. ;)

  19. Dave C says:

    With Mercedes engines proving so reliable at this point, I wonder if McLaren are regretting switching to the unproven Honda next year?

    1. James Allen says:

      No they have 100 million reasons not to!!

      1. Dmitry says:

        Just LOL =)
        But very true

      2. Gaz Boy says:

        Money talks in F1 James. Money talks. Its not champagne that makes flows in F1, its cold hard cash.

      3. Richard says:

        Love these responses :)

      4. Richard says:

        Yes certainly cheap but will they be cheerful! Free engines are one thing, but reliability and performance are something else. On the other hand they succeeded before and may pull it off again.

      5. Dave P says:

        Additionally tothe 100 million reasons, be assured Honda willhave the best power train of the lot… thats a cast iron (or should I say aluminium) guarantee.

      6. Gaz Boy says:

        On that note, I wonder if any engine manufacturer has investigated whether to use an iron block for this new turbo era? Yes, iron is weightier than aluminium – although not as much as it used to be and I would imagine with clever engineering the difference between the two metals wouldn’t be that different. Iron does have better thermal discharge properties than aluminium and as well as coping better with heat within the block, would also cope better with the thermal discharge generated from electrical motor beneath it too.
        Could iron by making an F1 engine block comeback?

      7. Hrvoje says:

        Well, thre was a questionmark over my head for a second :D

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD8IwpsYjDA

    2. ETM says:

      McLaren can see the investment Mercedes is making into its F1 team. They know that they will always be treated as a step child and have to break away if they want to create a path to beat them. I would be bullish about Honda’s chances. Entering 2014 the engine manufactures all enter the season a little unsure how that stack up to one another. While Honda will not be allowed to peek inside the Mercedes a huge wealth things like horsepower, torque curve, ERS strategies, mileage/efficiency, cooling efficiency and more will all be extracted from the data McLaren collects in 2014. Honda will enter 2015 with nearly a year of additional development knowing the exact targets they must meet to be competitive. If I was RB I would be opening discussions with Honda for 2016.

      1. KRB says:

        I thought McLaren’s deal was that they would be the sole works team for Honda?

      2. ETM says:

        Works team yes, and exclusive in 2014, but sometime after that Honda will take on a customer team or two in order to recoup some of their expenses.

      3. ETM says:

        Oops, meant to say exclusive in 2015.

      4. KRB says:

        Ok, but I think McLaren would have some say (and perhaps a possible veto) on who Honda could supply engines to, just as they had a say in who Mercedes could supply engines to before. McLaren nixed RBR from getting Mercedes engines a few years ago.

        Marussia and perhaps Lotus are more likely to switch over to Honda engines in the future.

  20. yellowbelly says:

    They have signed up until the end of 2016. Not all the blame rests with Renault, as Red Bull has had a lot of input into the new PU:
    “In a statement Renault said: “Within the new agreement, a technical joint venture will be set up, in which Red Bull Technology and Renault Sport F1 will collaborate to develop innovative technical solutions for the V6-based power unit that will be introduced from 2014. Red Bull Technology and Renault Sport F1 will contribute their respective know-how, experience and specialist personnel to the project to achieve a competitive and reliable power train to be used by Red Bull Racing and other customer teams.”

    1. yellowbelly says:

      Was supposed to be a reply to comment #7. Don’t know what happened there?

  21. Dmitry says:

    Nice day from Lewis!
    Though I still believe times are nothing – they are steadily closing to real life performance, but I still envision 1-2(may be even 3) sec improvement.

    Only the next test will more or less accurately show the true order.

    1. Dmitry says:

      OMG,
      Rosberg already shave a second today!

      From one side – it is great, from the other – I though Lewis’ time will be the best… oh well… Can’t wait for the next tests!

  22. Darren D says:

    I found Christian Horner’s comments regarding the different development paths for energy recovery systems taken by the engine manufacturers (Renault in particular) to be one of the most enlightening bits of information to come out of testing so far.

    Have the energy recovery systems of the past few years been a part of the engine development freeze? Speaking of which, could we get a bit of detail about what areas the teams and engine manufacturers will be able to tinker with on the new units after the freeze and what is off limits? Are the regulations in this area as open to interpretation as others in F1?

  23. Harvey says:

    All this nonsense about the timesheet. No one knows what fuel loads they’re running, what parts will materialise come Australia, who’s fastest through the speed trap, who’s going to have downforce issues, etc. And Merc, McLaren and Ferrari, although seemingly more reliable right now than the Renault runners, have had their share of issues. I think it’s likely that more than one team will score points in Australia for cars that don’t finish the race.

    1. KRB says:

      Cars have to complete at least 90% distance to gain any points. It’s possible that some points won’t be given out.

  24. Ben Ellis says:

    James – I hear that the power units will control the fuel usage and reduce power if they are likely to exceed what is allowed. Could this result in a car suddenly slowing down in a straight, would it be dangerous to those following?

    1. Random 79 says:

      I haven’t heard that, but if true it wouldn’t be any different to situations we’ve had where the driver in front suddenly has some kind of failure on the car and the following driver has to flick their car around them.

      These guys are (mostly) professionals, they’ll handle it :)

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Remember Jacques and Ralfie at Australia 2001? God, that was a horrific accident. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen, but you can never rule it out in the near future.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Wouldn’t have been fun, but at least now the drivers have a much, much better chance of walking away from something like that than in the old days.

  25. dazzle says:

    This looks like we are moving from a era of red bull domination to mercedes domination…which isn’t exactly what the change rules were for.

    1. Grant says:

      It’ll be fair to only have this discussion after 4 years of Merc domination.

  26. manz says:

    james what do u think about this
    i am havin gut feeling that as soon as renault and redbull troubles are over , redbull will again be untoucheble cause its hard for me to digest that redbull are not able to do a single race stint or even continuouse 20 laps whereas mercedes and ferraris are doing wonders with their powerunit(compared to what renault has offered with their power unit).on the other hand catheram are looking far more reliable and have covered more mileage which itself is something hard to digest that a brilliant team like redbull finds it even hard to run their car whereas catheram are enjoying with laps round the circuit.it seems like redbulls dont want to give up some advantage from last year which they think can be used or recovered this year as well and will give them significant advantage and for the same reason they designed their car like wise which is giving them so much trouble now…even adrian newey has excepted that what renault are offering have variouse advantages but its really difficult to reach there…
    so i personally think that mercedes , maclaren and ferrari will again have to moan that redbull doing something illegal as redbull have clear vision in their heads where thay want their car to be ….its not just aggressive packaging which is stopping them but theres a reason behing this exotic packaging which i believe is certainly more than aerodynamic purpose..with so many brilliant intelligent pepople working with such a harmony cant design a car which even dont run ..so i beleive its not a blunder by redbull but they wanted their car to be with certain advantage and in due course it messed up which they rectifying
    its just a conspiracy theory many be but what is ur idea about it

    1. timothy clarke says:

      longest sentence in history

      1. Random 79 says:

        When you’re on a roll you’re on a roll…

  27. manz says:

    james what do u think about this
    i am havin gut feeling that as soon as renault and redbull troubles are over , redbull will again be untoucheble cause its hard for me to digest that redbull are not able to do a single race stint or even continuouse 20 laps whereas mercedes and ferraris are doing wonders with their powerunit(compared to what renault has offered with their power unit).on the other hand catheram are looking far more reliable and have covered more mileage which itself is something hard to digest that a brilliant team like redbull finds it even hard to run their car whereas catheram are enjoying with laps round the circuit.it seems like redbulls dont want to give up some advantage from last year which they think can be used or recovered this year as well and will give them significant advantage and for the same reason they designed their car like wise which is giving them so much trouble now…even adrian newey has excepted that what renault are offering have variouse advantages but its really difficult to reach there…
    so i personally think that mercedes , maclaren and ferrari will again have to moan that redbull doing something illegal as redbull have clear vision in their heads where thay want their car to be ….its not just aggressive packaging which is stopping them but theres a reason behing this exotic packaging which i believe is certainly more than aerodynamic purpose..with so many brilliant intelligent pepople working with such a harmony cant design a car which even dont run ..so i beleive its not a blunder by redbull .
    what do u think?

    1. James Allen says:

      Red Bull have been too extreme in their design, especially with the problems Renault Is having

      1. Chuck 32 says:

        Perhaps Adrian Newey’s design priority for the RB10 was heat RETENTION. If the goal is to harvest the maximum amount of HEAT why would you overcool the car? Think these teams are balancing a large number of conflicting variables and RB has the compromise skewed a couple of percent the wrong way. Throw in a Renault ERS and fuel Management problem and from the outside it would appear you were in woeful shape. In retrospect I would suggest even with CFD the McLaren rear suspension may have been a bigger step into the unknown (considering Gearbox/suspension integration). If the end result is three or four races into the season Red Bull is harvesting energy more efficiently by living closer to the thermal edge they will go from Zero to Hero in the blink of an eye.

      2. kenneth chapman says:

        james, could you be a bit more precise in what you have proposed as being the problems?

  28. Iwan says:

    James,

    Why would Williams seemingly be wasting track time to practise pitstops? Surely those can be done at the factory or after hours?

  29. DC Corey says:

    James:

    Any word on what Honda might be up to this week? What kind of information could McLaren share with them?

    1. James Allen says:

      Anything measurable on their telemetry

      Merc have safe guarded themselves against IP loss to Honda

      1. KRB says:

        JA, could you elaborate on what steps Merc has taken? We can surmise certain things (e.g. them sealing the engines asap after any session), but are there any others?

  30. Nige says:

    Unless there are a number of clarevoyants on here I won’t be writing off Red Bull until they are mathematically unable to win the championship. I’m willing to bet they will be very grateful for the double points at the last race.

  31. Howard P says:

    I for one would look forward to an all Brit battle for the championship this season, former team mates, never quite mates, now clear rivals.

  32. Matt says:

    James,

    Can you see a situation early in the season where many teams choose to do very minimal running in free practice sessions so as to put a premium on saving engines?

    1. James Allen says:

      Conceivable, yes

      They only have 5 power units per driver for the season

      1. Davexxx says:

        …”per driver”… Hmmm I never thought of this before, but does that mean a desperate team could bring in an extra set of 5 power units by changing to a different driver mid season?!

      2. KRB says:

        It’s per each car. If say Kimi hurt his back again, another driver would hop in the #7 car, and be restricted by the number of engines used already by the #7 car.

      3. Richard says:

        That doesn’t sound very many particularly if there are some blow ups. – It’s only a small engine highly pressed after all. Do you perceive there may be any relaxation with any of the constraints this year in practice such as fuel usage or indeed engine supply?

    2. Random 79 says:

      Red Bull might be doing minimal running during practice whether they want to or not ;)

  33. giorgio says:

    What’s the estimated gap soft-supersoft? ,5 sec?

  34. Reuben says:

    It’s funny that we’re cheering on the possibility of Jenson and Lewis having a distinct car advantage this year. Isn’t that what Sebastian has been slated for over the past few years? Oh, hang on a minute, he’s not British.

    I can’t think of anything worse that an obvious car advantage come the first few races. For all of Vettel’s domination, the quali times have been super close. Somehow, I think that there’ll be a massive gap, front to back in Melbourne. Hope I’m wrong!!

    1. darren w says:

      Speaking of that gap from front to back James, is there any talk at this time of relaxing the 104% (I think that is the number) rule early in the season to deal with issues relating to the new power unit development curve?

    2. KRB says:

      4 years of domination by a single team from here on will again cause people to hope for someone different to be up front. We haven’t started the season yet! People are getting too far ahead of themselves.

      If Merc or Ferrari are dominant, we should still get a good WDC race between teammates, unlike last season.

    3. Tim says:

      I don’t understand your point. What is wrong or unusual about cheering for a fellow countryman? When you watch the Olympics, or the World Cup who do you cheer for? Surely you cheer for your own side. That’s all the British fans are doing when they cheer for LH or JB, completely normal and understandable behaviour. What is odd though, is the lack of popularity that SV has in his home country. Only just over 50,000 spectators turned up at the German GP on race day. If LH or JB were in such a dominant position in the WDC, do you imagine that would be the case at Silverstone?

      1. Rockie says:

        At Silverstone its not just British fans also because its held in the summer you have tourists there as well!

      2. Tim says:

        And your point is ???? The German GP is only a week after the British GP – still summer , still tourist season. Rather nullifies your point wouldn’t you say.
        Face it, SV just isn’t very popular, not even in his own country :-)

      3. Reuben says:

        I don’t cheer someone on because they’re born in the same country as me. I want to see talent, regardless of nationality. Fernando is my man and as far as I’m aware, I haven’t got any Spanish blood in me. The UK forums have been saying over and over again, Vettel only wins because of the car. Rubbish!! If Lewis wins this years championship at at canter, with the rest of the grid bar Rosberg a distant second, no one will be mentioning the car.

      4. KRB says:

        Oh c’mon, sure they will. If Hamilton got the same number of points as Vettel last year (397), then of course that would be mainly down to the car.

        Of course, b/c the cars will be nowhere near as bulletproof as their 2006-13 predecessors, I don’t see how anyone will be able to come anywhere close to that. I think if any driver gets over 275 pts, they’ll be in with a great shout for the DWC.

  35. Querfeldein says:

    Nothing by either Caterham, Lotus or Torro Rosso gives me reason to believe that Red Bull’s problems aren’t caused by the power unit. Yes, the overheating problems are due to the packaging being ill-suited for the power unit, but the 2014 Renault unit seems to be a beast in terms of cooling requirement.

    It also doesn’t give Red Bull or the other Renault cars much hope, in a series that will eventually become fuel-limited even when the current cooling limitations are overcome.

    With hindsight, it looks like Renault really didn’t have enough time to develop the new power unit, but they won’t be able to fix in a couple of weeks what they weren’t able to get right in a couple of years.

    Of course, Dietrich Mateschitz is not going to spend hundreds of millions per year on a team stuck with a second-rate engine, so it will be interesting to see what the future brings.

    The most immediate question is whether RB, Renault, and the other Renault teams have enough clout to force engine updates after homologation closes.

    Lex Vettel? It will be fascinating.

  36. Witan says:

    Marco has been very clear that the contract with Renault has performance criteria. So there is an out if the unit doesn’t perform as it should.

  37. Steve JR says:

    Australia is shaping up to be the most interesting season opener in years…I wouldn’t want to put a bet on any team winning the race with reliability being so unpredictable.

    Having watched F1 stagnate in the last few years with one team holding a vice like grip on the championship, one wonders whether the FIA should drastically change the rules every other year to keep the sport more vibrant

    1. Majordidge says:

      As a firemarshal at Melbourne I’m looking forward to what will be a very interesting and possibly vert busy time …

  38. kenneth chapman says:

    talking to people in europe and trying to put a fix on the red bull/renault problems is becoming elusive. the general feeling is that, to date, red bull cannot even remotely push the car. whether this relates to the MGU/K problem is not clear but is a favoured guess.

    people are saying that it is heat/ packaging related and it may well be but,IMO, the problem is rather deep seated and well short of an easy fix. i will be surprised if they can get a suitable mod in place prior to melbourne. that will be a devastating blow to ricciardo’s maiden start for the RB team.

  39. Vivek says:

    James,

    A quick answer. Is it Merc or Mac ? Who is faster in qualifying trim and race trim? Any new on upgrades for the cars?!

  40. Yona says:

    My biggest pleasure would be to see all first to last team having a difference of only a second, i was so tored to see redbulls i was considering what mosley use to say about them supllying cars and let thr teams modify “single Formula” then again it was gonna be ugly forbmabufacturer no point of expressions really

  41. D Vega says:

    Ferrari misses you , Aldo.
    Hamilton will win the WDC. Hamilton is a bull dog in any car. In the best car, he will not lose.

  42. D Vega says:

    By mid-season we will hear, Fernando to Mercedes stories.

    1. KRB says:

      You think Alonso would head to a team where Hamilton’s already at? Anything’s possible, but he couldn’t wait to get out of McLaren asap.

      More likely we’d hear Vettel to Merc stories.

  43. Chuck 32 says:

    Mercedes and Ferrari developed the chassis and power unit in house. Does that give those teams an advantage over the field? Were they able to consider system maintenance at an early point in the design process and accommodate this into the package? Information to this point suggest RB and others have to dig deep into the bowels of the car to access some components.

  44. kenneth chapman says:

    i am still confused at the lack of successful integration between chassis and engine/unit! these cars have been planned for over probably one and a half years or so and they still cannot mate properly.

    engine specs would’ve been co ordinated between renault/red bull from day one as RB are the ‘works’ team. how can such errors occur?

    there are always teething problems but that is usually what they are, teething problems. this now seems to be more than that and despite what is being parlayed for public consumption within the four walls of viry/milton keynes there must be some serious ‘angst’ being vented.

    hopefully it will be sorted prior to melbourne but i very much doubt it. the pathetic on track ‘lappage’ [is there such a word?] does not auger well for the renault powered teams.

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