Hulkenberg fastest in Bahrain as Red Bull Racing’s woes continue
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  19 Feb 2014   |  5:39 pm GMT  |  219 comments

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg went quickest on the first day of the second pre-season test in Bahrain as Red Bull Racing again hit trouble. Sebastian Vettel completed just 14 laps of the Sakhir circuit in the afternoon before a mechanical issue brought his running to a halt.

The defending champions arrived in Bahrain hoping that work at its Milton Keynes base and at Renault’s HQ in Viry had cured the problems that restricted the team to just 21 laps in Jerez but day one Bahrain began in the same style with RB10 garage-bound until the afternoon.

When Vettel eventually emerged at around 1.45pm he began to make progress, eventually climbing to fifth on the timesheet before the RB10 slowed to a halt trackside with a mechanical issue.

“Obviously we’re not happy with where we are now and we have a long way of ahead of us. The first gut feeling from the car is OK but we need more running,” said Vettel afterwards. “It’s not easy to find a quick fix but I think we understand the problems. We sorted out the issues from Jerez and we were able to do some laps today. However, very often you fix one problem and another pops up, which is what happened.”

Nico Hulkenberg clocked the day’s fastest time, the Force India driver recording a lap of 1:36.880 on the soft Pirelli tyre. The German also underlined the reliability of Mercedes’ power unit completing 78 laps. Other Mercedes runners also piled on the miles, with Kevin Magnussen completing 81 laps for McLaren and Lewis Hamilton managing 74 laps for Mercedes itself. Felipe Massa, though, only managed five late laps in the Mercedes powered Williams FW36, as the Grove outfit’s day was scuppered by a fuel system problem that necessitated the removal of the power unit.

It was Ferrari-powered Adrian Sutil who logged the greatest number of laps however, the Sauber driver touring the 5.412km circuit 82 times. Ferrari, with Fernando Alonso at the wheel, managed 64 laps, despite the Spaniard being sidelined briefly in the morning by a “fuel mix” problem.

With Hulkenberg a second clear of the field on the soft tyre, second spot on the timesheet went to Alonso, who set a time of 1:37.879. Hamilton was third fastest with a lap of 1:37.908. He was followed by Magnussen and Vettel.

The Red Bull Racing driver wasn’t the only Renault-powered driver in trouble, however. After a successful shakedown recently, the full debut of Lotus’ E22 was awaited with much anticipation. Romain Grosjean managed just eight laps, however, before he was sidelined with battery and software problems.

Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat also hit trouble. The Russian rookie’s morning running was erased by an oil leak and his afternoon track time was brought to a halt by an unspecified issue just after he’d set his first timed lap.

Jules Bianchi, meanwhile, was only able to take the Marussia MR03 out for three installation laps, as the team struggled to sort “IT configuration” problems.

Bahrain Test 1 – Day One Times
1. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:36.880 78 laps
2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:37.879 64 laps
3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.908 74 laps
4. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:38.295 81 laps
5. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing 1:40.224 14 laps
6. Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:40.443 82 laps
7. Robin Frijns Caterham 1:42.534 68 laps
8. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:44.346 5 laps
9. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:44.832 8 laps
9. Felipe Massa Williams No time 5 laps
10. Jules Bianchi Marussia No time 3 laps



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Only a fool will write-off a team and an engine manufacturer like RBR and Renault, but the fact is that RBR came out with a lemon and Renault with an incredible number of faults on their power unit, one of which might turn out to be structural, this when they have been on that projects for such a long time, when considering the level of the two of them it must be one of the biggest fall from grace of modern F1.


Funny to read people already writing the RB10/RBR off. 🙂

Yes they haven’t had a smooth start to the testingprogram so they are playing catch-up, but nothing indicates that the RB10 is a bad car or that there is something fundamentally wrong with it (yet).

But if there is any team on the grid that can play catch-up it is Red Bull.

And people..testing laptimes….please.


They might have to make is slower though to make it reliable


Here’s a top secret photo of the new RBR powerplant.

Nice fins but no wonder they are having over heating problems!


There is no way that this year’s cars are going to be faster during a race than last year’s cars during last year’s races.

It is not right to compare the Hulk’s time with that of last year’s race time, if the Hulk was doing a race his time would have been much slower.

And if the Hulk was using the same tyres as the second and third best time cars his time would have been at least the third best.

The number of laps done by the Renault in the Caterham was as a result of them strictly sticking to the recommended advise of Renault to use the power unit only up to 75% of its output.

The main problem of Renault seems to be structural (crankshaft and MGU-K interface) which might need a timeframe of several races to have fixed.

The RBR side of the problem is, this time they have no readymade model/car to fall on like mclaren had when Newey made that mclaren lemon.


Remember it is easier to make a fast car reliable, than a reliable car fast. I won’t write off Red Bull until Melbourne at the absolute earliest.


RB10 reminds me of the MP4/18… Only this time there is no option to revert to the RB9-specB


Why is it that Caterham able to do plenty of laps on the Renault engine?


Isn’t that a little peculiar?

What is the difference between the Caterham and all of the other Renault runners?



I would love to see an addition to your testing times, rather than just the ‘headline’ times. Could you add to the table of times by including what tyre was used, whether it was a short run or long run, etc? That would give viewers some extra data to pour over! 🙂


Mercedes powered cars look great so far. They also seem to be bullet proof for the most part. I am pleased with where Ferrari is in reliability, but we will soon see who has pace and I fear the Merc teams will start to run away and hide.


As will the Vettel fans 😀


Wow, Caterham did 68 laps, so Red Bull has issues.

But then again they’re all still testing for reliability.

Lap times will not be important until the next test before Melbourne.

Lotus forked front looks the best so far.

Overall it’s the nicest looking car next to Mercedes.


what is hard to understand is that after so long in gestation that these engines aren’t more reliable and secondly, what do all the mechanics/engineers do behind the screens all day?

what exctly are they all doing? if, and i don’t really know, there are say 10 workers working for seven/eight hour at a stretch that is 70/80hrs put in….what are they all doing?

someone must have some ideas about this…


Is it possible to include speed trap numbers along with the laptimes James? No-one seems to publish them from tests. Would be interesting for comparison. I hope you can help


Few things from this test.

1) seeing the laptimes, encouraging that the “slow car” bugbear has almost been put to bed (it has got to get faster….rubber on the track etc etc)

2) Personal taste, but seeing the mercedes lapping around on bbc made me think “damn it sounds…cutting-edge awesome”. It’s not an ear shattering wail, but it’s nonetheless a very nice sound

3) Magnussen is clearly enjoying this run of speed, reliability, and the fact that he’s technically a race rookie shoving it to quite a few “old hands” on the grid

4) Red bull….oh the fall from grace. Now if the car can at least take the fight to the rest of the top teams…its up to him to show he’s worth the 4 titles he’s won without much of a challenge (apart from 2010…2012 he won 4 races on the trot without much of a fight). I don’t have anything against sebastian vettel winning 4 titles in a row. I just think the other teams should at least challenge him and red bull


yet again, all the prophecy of the cars being difficult to drive is all wrong. young magnussen, with no f1 experience, has so far driven the car faster than button.

i hope the Renault powered cars and williams sort their cars out in time for the first race next month to keep the competition tight.


I am very surprised that Renault did not isolate their engine problems during dyno testing. This new engine system must have done thousands of hours of testing before it was dleivered to their customers.


…and tens of minutes testing after it was delivered to their customers…


I know feeling more hopeful that Red Bull won’t be turning up at Melbourne and being on pole by 2 seconds although to quote the amazing Murray Walker “Anything happens in Grand Prix racing and it usually does”


If Bull lock out the front row on a dry Saturday qualifying they can rename themselves Lazarus!


Can I borrow your crystal ball please? What do you know about qualifying and why think it will be dry? It is Melbourne in autumn. Might be wet and blowing a gale for qualifying, although I am hoping you are right because, for the first time, I will be trackside for this one.


I did start the sentence with “if” – that pesky conjunction and noun that is often used in F1 – remember that old cliche about F1 is if spelt backwards?

Having said that, you are right, lots of rain affected practice and qualifying sessions in Melbourne over the years (and a few wet races as well), my point if Melbourne is bone dry over the entire practice and qualifying and Bull lock out the front row they have obviously sorted out their problems.

If is a big word in F1……..


That`a 4.5 seconds slower than 2013 qualifying. I tought they would be slower…

Alexander Supertramp

you seriously believe they were even trying to get a decent lap? Button is right, by the end of 2014 you’ll see the cars going almost as fast as the 2013 ones.


I think it’s very impressive!


Ferrari missed a chance today to top the timesheets in honour of Enzo’s birthday.

I think it would have been a nice touch if they had made it happen.


They are there to test. They can´t think about honouring anyone I´m afraid. Alonso was on mediums while Hulk was on soft. Hamilton on hard. So he was the impressive one.

I´d really appreciate to have the kind tyres and not only the times.


@ Anne

But can’t you still honour your boss whilst testing?

Maybe the team should have bolted on softs on Alonso’s car for one mighty glory run.


Special agent button, please step into your custom made rocket ship, don’t go too fast your only supposed to blow the bloody doors off…19 weekends plus a bit of testing,(easy on the fuel) cruise to the end pick up the trophy, it’s got your name on it already. .. shades of 1998 and 2009 hi 5 for papa smurf!

Mclaren HQ over and out!


It would appear that the new materials used in F1 cars, when heated, produce an hallucinogenic vapour. People start seeing things and talking gibberish. Do you see those men in their nice white coats yet?


The cars are and will be slower, its useless trying to compare last years times, just try enjoy the unpredictable year ahead, I guarantee that the 2014 Me Mans Audi will be quicker around Silverstone this year in the same conditions than the F1 cars (and they look fantastic unlike these f1 Muppet lookalikes)…that cannot be right…


Muppet lookalikes?

There’s only one Muppet lookalike and that’s the Caterham – and it still makes me shudder…

Caterham: One good reason to remove the mirrors from your F1 car.


I know I’ve mentioned this before Random, but the Caterham is literally the boogey-man of F1 in that green colour.

Makes you wonder: why was Britain allocated green as a national racing colour? Something to do with the green and pleasant land I guess. I think red, blue and white would have been more appropriate: England, Scotland, Wales and N Ireland all have one of those colours in their flags, so everyone would be happy.

I mean, how many of Aston, Jag, Lotus, Range Rover Ginetta, Noble et al customer base order a green car? Not very many, that’s for sure.


Still think green is a rubbish colour.

I forgot to mention that when the Good Lord Hesketh and James H went racing in F1 they chose to paint their car white with blue and red stripes.

Much more like it.

Are you listening Caterham???


They explained why the British ended up with green on an old episode of Top Gear, but don’t ask me to remember which episode it was 🙂


Exactly, that’s not right at all. And less so at Silverstone, with its big demands on downforce. Even a GP2 are faster than a Le Mans car at F1 tracks.


Poor Red Bull, I expect the might of Jenson Button and Mclaren-Mercedes combo to dominate this season ala Brawn 2009. Vettel fans, where are you? Ha ha ha


Both of them 😉


They’re right behind you and holding pitchforks 😉


Redbull is a faboulouse team with outstanding driver (vettel) ….but if maclaren-mercedes or mercedes team win cause REDBULLS were having troubles then i will be more than happy for such a temporary mouth watering form which depend entirely on redbull troubles ….troubles gone and mercedes drivers and ferrari drivers back to the pet sentence “redbull is quicker than us ” or “vettel will have to prove in other cars (so they can have vettel seat when he goes to other team” …and honetly its such a shame that u blame redbull for being fast instead of improving ones own team performance….no offence but guys dont u think that u hate redbull to extent tht u forget they won everything on pure merit and hardwork..they deserve it …and they will soon get their shit together and u will have to relax urself with sentence that they are aagain doing something illegal…tht will be only option khekhekehke

cheers…love u all non redbull fans 😀


I expect Magnussen to beat Button


Was expecting someone to have blown an engine by now.

How many engines can they use for testing?

heinzman (fan of: ALO)

Thing of the past, each components is monitored so as soon as an anomaly develops, they ask the driver to switch off.


Of all the Renault-powered teams, you wouldn’t expect CATERHAM to be the only one to have gotten their stool together. Well done, lads!


James whats that thing the back of Alonso’s Ferrari?


It’s a funky little device for measuring air flow.


I would hazard a guess that it’s a sensor grid designed to correlate real life areo at the rear to CFD & windtunnel results


“Renault’s woes continue”, would be a more accurate summation. Though at least Caterham did manage some decent lap time.

So, will we see more than ten cars (not teams but cars) complete the first GP of the season? I’d guess not, based on what we’ve seen so far.

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