Pastor Maldonado signed off a productive test for Lotus with the fastest time of the final day of testing in Barcelona, the Venezuelan recording a lap of 1:24.871 on the supersoft tyre to finish just under a second ahead of Mercedes Nico Rosberg, who set his time on medium tyres. In the morning the German also trialled Mercedes’ ‘megaphone’ exhaust, designed to increase noise.
After Lotus test driver Charles Pic put in 70 laps yesterday for the second fastest time, Maldonado enjoyed an even more solid run today, logging 102 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya and claiming the fastest time late in the session with a run on the supersoft tyre.
He finished 0.934s ahead of Rosberg, who also passed a century of laps. The German began his day’s work testing Mercedes’ much anticipated and rather aesthetically challenging ‘megaphone’ exhaust but without notable success, with a number of trackside sources saying that the noise emitted from Nico Rosberg’s car was not significantly louder. Indeed it is believed that the device is just 3db louder than the normal exhaust.
The results of the test will be analysed by the FIA and discussed with the sport’s teams before a decision is made on whether to adopt the solution.
Rosberg was followed on the timesheet by Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who enjoyed a much better day at the wheel of the F14 T than yesterday. Thanks to an engine problem and an off the Finn completed just 20 laps yesterday but today he powered through 93 laps for a best time of 1:26.480, almost half a second clear of Esteban Gutierrez. The Sauber driver was involved in an incident in the morning when a fire briefly broke out at the back of his car in the pit lane. It was quickly extinguished and the Mexican was soon back on track for an eventual tally of 84 laps.
Elsewhere, Williams Development Driver Susie Wolff took over from Felipe Massa at the wheel of the Williams FW36, for a full day of testing, her first since driving the team’s 2013 car at last year’s Young Driver Test at Silverstone. This latest test is an advance of her scheduled appearance in Friday practice at this year’s British and German Grands Prix.
After an early spin Wolff completed 27 laps in the morning session. She improved again in the afternoon, eventually claiming the day’s fifth-fastest time with a lap of 1:27.280, set on the soft tyre. In total she completed 55 laps.
Behind her Jules Bianchi finished sixth but was confined to the garage for most of the afernoon with a technical problem. The team managed, however, to get him out on track again in the final minutes of the session.
Seventh place went to Sebastian Vettel. After losing time yesterday when a gearbox problem cut short their running, Red Bull Racing again missed out this morning, with repairs dragging on well into the first part of the session. Vettel eventually emerged some three hours into the action, and completed a couple of runs before lunch. The afternoon was more productive for the German and he had completed 72 laps by the time the flag fell.
“The problems of yesterday made a bit late out this morning but the afternoon was productive and we did a lot of laps, which considering the time we had it was good,” said Vettel. “We used the tyres used last weekend as we want to try to understand the car more and in terms of that I think we have learned a lot, so I would say it was a useful, if not perfect, day.”
Behind the four-time champion came Force India tester Daniel Juncadella and, getting a first F1 outing, McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne. Both were conducting tyre testing for Pirelli and afterwards Vandoorne said he was pleased with his first day in F1.
“This has been a fantastic day for me: my first experience in a Formula One car, and a really great opportunity to get plenty of laps under my belt,” he said after racking up the day’s largest total – 136 laps. “I want to say a big thank you to the team – everyone has been incredibly helpful and positive. It’s also great to have been able to contribute to the test programme: 136 laps today was a fantastic achievement, and it’s great that it’s earned me my Formula One Superlicence.”
Daniil Kvyat was ninth for Toro Rosso. The Russian brought out the red flags twice in the morning and then spent most of the afternoon in the garage. Caterham, meanwhile, did not run at all, with the team announcing in the morning that damage caused by Kamui Kobayashi’s accident yesterday was severe enough to prevent the team taking part.
Barcelona Test – Day 2 Times
1 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1m24.871s 102 laps
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m25.805s 102 laps
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m26.480s 94 laps
4 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m26.972s 85 laps
5 Susie Wolff Williams 1m27.280s 55 laps
6 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m27.718s 55 laps
7 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing 1m27.973s 72 laps
8 Daniel Juncadella Force India 1m28.278s 91 laps
9 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1m28.441s 136 laps
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m28.910s 21 laps