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Massa quickest as Red Bull Racing fail to complete a single lap on day three
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Posted By:   |  01 Mar 2014   |  4:40 pm GMT  |  268 comments

Felipe Massa reconfirmed Williams’ strong showing in testing by posting the fastest time on the penultimate day of Formula One pre-season testing in Bahrain today, ahead of Nico Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen. The former Ferrari driver also logged 99 laps as elsewhere Red Bull Racing and Lotus once again struggled.

After completing over 230 laps around the Sakhir circuit across the opening two days this week, today saw the team demonstrate the FW36’s raw pace, Massa setting the fastest time seen in Bahrain this year, a 1:33.258, in the final minutes of the day on Pirelli’s supersoft tyre.

Massa had set the pace throughout the day, posting the fastest time in the morning session before lowering his benchmark this afternoon. His time of 1:34.450 looked to be good enough to seal top spot until Rosberg, also on supersofts, went quicker by a second to provisionally steal the bragging rights. Massa was not to be outdone, however, and the Brazilian immediately reclaimed the top spot by 0.2s.

Rosberg had missed much of the morning session after the replacement of some high-mileage components in the Mercedes power-unit led to an engine change, The swap didn’t harm the squad’s day, however, as they went on to complete 103 laps.

The same couldn’t be said for Red Bull and Lotus, the two Renault-powered teams enduring a torrid day that necessitated the closing of garage doors for long periods of time. Following a relatively satisfying day for Red Bull yesterday, the RB10, in the hands of Sebastian Vettel, today ground to a halt after just four corners.

After a lift back to the pit-lane and a 45-minute turnaround Vettel emerged from the garage with higher expectations, only for the car to stop before the end of the pit-lane. With work going on behind the scenes and Christian Horner onsite to oversee proceedings it was assumed that the World Champions would return to the circuit later in the afternoon, but with an hour of the day to run it was announced that they would not be making any further appearances.

Lotus did slightly better, Romain Grosjean managing 33 laps at the wheel of the E22 before a stop on track brought out the red flags. Thereafter, the team opted to cut its day short to focus on a crucial final day of testing tomorrow.

Kimi Raikkonen, had another strong day for Ferrari. The Finn spent the afternoon conducting a race simulation before a trio of shorter runs in the afternoon, with an eventual lap count of 87. Over at McLaren, Kevin Magnussen completed his first pre-season testing schedule in fourth place after another trouble-free day.

The issues surrounding Red Bull were not mirrored by its junior team, with Daniil Kvyat taking fifth place for Toro Rosso. The young Russian made use of the supersoft tyre to take the top spot early in the afternoon and racked up 81 laps in total.

Having topped the timesheets on the opening two days, Force India, this time with Nico Hulkenberg in control, focused on race simulations and went on to complete 115 laps. Hulkenberg finished in sixth place ahead of Marussia’s Jules Bianchi and Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson.

Interestingly, the Renault-powered Caterham recorded the highest number of laps today on 117, which again suggests that the problems affecting Lotus and Red are not solely down to Renault’s power unit.

Bahrain Test Two; Day Three Times
1. Felipe Massa Williams 1:33.258s 99 laps
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:33.484s +0.226s 103 laps
3. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:35.426s +2.168s 87 laps
4. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:35.894s +2.636s 88 laps
5. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:36.113s +2.855s 81 laps
6. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:36.205s +2.947s 115 laps
7. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:37.087s +3.829s 78 laps
8. Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:38.083s +4.825s 117 laps
9. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:42.166s +8.908s 33 laps
10. Adrian Sutil Sauber No Time 1 lap
11. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing No Time 0 laps

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1
Thread the Needle

Williams car does look good this year, looking forward to seeing their new livery

Hopefully Massa or Bottas will get a win this year

2
Torchwood Five

I am getting quite concerned for the season now.

3

Never loved testing so much as i have this year. RBR are gone.. No chance for recovery considering how many miles they have put in.. For all the rbr supporters give it up because there is no coming back from this & i would really love anyone to defend their ability right now as being the team to take the wcc in 2014. Merc have the engine( notice how i said merc) & they will be the dominant force for a few years to come. Bye bye newey the last four were your last. Hope the sea salt doesnt corrode the anchors you have installed on this boat you call the rb10 hehe.

4

i think lots of people in the paddock would be happy to see the Martini livery on the front row in OZ and during the season.

So far if you could predict the grid (regarding quali pace), i would bet on different group:

-Williams and Mercedes

-McLaren, Force India and Ferrari

-Redbull, Toro Rosso, Sauber, Marussia

-Lotus, Caterham

5

James we’ve heard nothing about the Mclaren rear suspension that caught attention at the 1ast test.

Is IT another F-Duct type solution?

By that I mean it may have some advantages to their design,but not worth coping since, they havent exctly light the world on fire with it

6

Williams showing good pace at the pre-season testing. Again.

I really hope they can maintain the dev race and be competitive all year.

A strong williams really makes me happy. I am a ferrari fan, but i really like williams. They are a true Formula 1 team really fighting back

7

Nico Rosberg is looking good. Rosberg Vs Hamilton fight is gonnab e awesome to follow too.

Considering both drivers are treated equal I see Nico having the upper hand over Lewis. Nico like many other great drivers does his talking on the track only.

8

James,

What do the cars sound like in the pit lane?

Thanks.

9

What an ironic turn of events after Sebastian Vettel claimed everyone else is hanging their balls in the pool while he’s working hard!

And today, Mercedes did a full Engine change and still managed more than 100 laps with Nico

After today’s showing, I wonder can he say that again about Nico Rosberg?

10

Is the Redbull RB10 an MP4-18 of the 2014 season? Is it one of Adrian Newey’s trash cars?

11

James somethings definitely not as it seems with Red Bull- how can they one day do 90 odd laps with Ricciardo and then set the 3rd best time then not set a single lap a day later. It would seen they are trialling a few very significant configurations. They obviously “banked” a solid set up on day 3 then tried something diff.

Come Melbourne we are going to see a very different pecking order me thinks.

12

Having owned a few Renault cars in my time, I suggest Red Bull replace the Cam-shaft sensors & the coils….. they’re always the first things to give trouble in Renault engines. 😀

I wonder will Vettel be starting to have temper-tantrums again. 😀

13
kenneth chapman

just how confusing this all is? some days ago i posted a thought that the renault cars can compete but at a cost. the cost being a competetive speed.

listening to rene taffin’s interview he, more or less, confirmed this thought when he said the teams could drive without any problems and rack up serious laps.

now whether i am not joining up the dots or this is an actuality which does not augur well for the early part of the season. it looks as though ricciardo had an unusual run insofar as the relative components spoke to each other in the same language. something that has yet to become a regulr feature.

the big question is, can RBR get on top of this. i think that they can but it will be at a serious cost to their ambitions for 2014.

14

“Haw haw!” at headline.

15

Is it worth pointing out that Rosberg set his 33.2 last week on soft tyres, whereas Massa’s was set on supersofts?

16

I know I should not get too excited by testing, but this is very encouraging. I support JB first and foremost but Williams and Damon is where I found my interest in F1. I have always had a soft spot for Williams and I hope this is them coming up the running order.

17

James, have RBR even updated their launch spec aero kit?

That would tell us just how much reliability is an issue for them, especially since we’ve seen Sauber and Ferrari testing different diffusers etc.

18

Will Vettel be jumping ship if RBR have a bad year?

19

Is it true that Red Bull are going to use their two in season testing sessions before Melbourne?

20

Sporting odds have followed the form from testing… Vet is $9 and Ric is $26 for the Aus gp…if RBR are sandbagging then they’re doing a good job.

Ham is fave, though I think it’s a real lucky dip..

21

Forza Ferrari in Oz!

22

And the Oscar for best sandbagging performance goes to……..Red Bull!!!!!!!!

Vettel on pole in Melbourne.

I hope I am proved wrong.

23

“the Renault-powered Caterham recorded the highest number of laps today on 117, which again suggests that the problems affecting Lotus and Red are not solely down to Renault’s power unit.”

Except that the Renault powered Caterham is consistently by FAR the slowest car on track. Today they were nearly five seconds off the pace! So it appears that Renault powered teams can either be semi-reliable, but at the cost of what seems to be well over a hundred horse power, or they can generate competitive power – but at the cost of any semblance of reliability.

Given Caterhams showing thus far there’s no way they’ll pass the 107% rule in Australia.

24

Really hope Williams aren’t running light to impress Martini and other potential sponsors.

25

I think that the cars are so close to the weight limit now that “running light” is a bit of a myth. They can do a quali simulation with low fuel but there isn’t much ballast they can take out of the cars if they wanted to.

26

Vettel will have a team mate this year, so people that want a benchmark, will have.. believe me, with these totally different cars, SV should not have such advantage against DR, and should at least give us some idea of his speed…

At least for me, DR is fast but should not provide any trouble for the “four times” WDC (as I think DR is not in the premier league). If he does, all is answered…

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