Valtteri Bottas tops 2017 F1 testing day three, Ferrari close on harder tyres
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Valtteri Bottas
Posted By: Alex Kalinauckas  |  01 Mar 2017   |  5:51 pm GMT  |  152 comments

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas set the fastest time of the third day of Formula 1 pre-season testing using the ultrasoft tyres, but Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel ended the day with a best time just 0.247s behind the Finn on the soft compound rubber.

The drivers were pushing more today, with a fourth and final day set to be set aside for wet tyre testing on a dampened track.

It was another encouraging day for the Italian squad, which has had a clean test so far with both drivers.

Bottas, who handed over to Lewis Hamilton for the afternoon running, worked his way through the three softest tyres in Pirelli’s range as he put in stints on the soft, supersoft and ultrasoft tyres during the 75 laps he completed during the morning session.

His best effort, which was also the fastest time seen so far during pre-season testing for the 2017 season, was a 1m19.705s, which came on the first lap of a five lap run on Ultras as the Finn focussed mainly on short runs after a race distance yesterday.

Sebastian Vettel

Vettel, who was back behind the wheel of Ferrari’s SF70H after his teammate Kimi Raikkonen topped the times during yesterday’s running, started out completing runs on the medium tyres during the morning before switching to the softs in the afternoon.

The four times world champion’s best lap was a 1m19.952s on the first lap of a three lap run on softs, he had a cool down lap and then tried a second lap which was 4/10ths slower. Vettel had been doing 10-12 lap runs in the 1m 22s prior to that, which is likely to have been on 30-40kg of fuel. Ferrari’s long run race pace from yesterday was more like 1m24s and 1m 25s.

Vettel’s time was – 1.008s faster than Raikkonen’s quickest lap yesterday – as he completed 139 tours of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the most of any single driver.

For the second day in a row Red Bull finished third quickest after Daniel Ricciardo put in a 1m21.153s shortly before the lunch break on the first flying lap of a five lap run on softs. He also did a 20 lap long run in the 1m 24s range during the afternoon, which broadly matched what Raikkonen did on Tuesday.

But after that the team was forced to spend much of the rest of the afternoon investigating an exhaust issue that meant the Australian driver only added 22 laps to his morning total.

Jolyon Palmer

Renault gave its drivers Jolyon Palmer and Nico Hulkenberg half a day each in the RS17 and they finished fourth and fifth on the timesheets after completing 51 and 42 laps respectively. Palmer caused the first red flag stoppage of the morning session when he spun off on the approach to Turn 3 shortly after the day got underway.

Marcus Ericsson gave Sauber its highest testing ranking so far as he closed the day in sixth place after using the red-walled supersoft tyres to set his best time during a series of short runs near the end of the morning session.

Romain Grosjean was eighth fastest for Haas F1, one place behind Hamilton, who completed 95 laps during his half day in the WO8, which gave Mercedes a total of 170. Like Bottas did yesterday, the triple world champion spent much if his time completing a race simulation.

Lance Stroll

Lance Stroll was given another day of running for Williams after his spin through the gravel yesterday meant he only completed 12 laps. While he did manage a further 98 today, the Canadian driver did cause a red flag as he ended up in the gravel at the very end of the morning session.

Things got worse for the 18-year-old later on when he crashed at the exit of Turn 5 with just under two hours of the day remaining. The incident damaged the front of his FW40 and forced Williams to call an early halt to its running for the second day in succession.

Fernando Alonso was finally able to rack up some significant mileage in McLaren’s MCL32, which struggled with power unit problems during the previous two days of running. The Spaniard completed 72 laps, with his best time 2.893s behind Bottas’, which he also set on the ultrasoft tyre. But Honda clearly had the engine turned down a bit as Alonso was 13km/h slower through the speed traps than the benchmark cars.

Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz finished 11th for Toro Rosso – he completed 32 laps in the afternoon and caused a red flag when he stopped in the gravel at Turn 4 – after his teammate Daniil Kvyat’s drove for 31 laps in the morning. Force India’s Alfonso Celis Jr split the Toro Rosso drivers in 12th place, as the Mexican driver managed 70 laps in the VJM10.

Barcelona test one, day three, results:

1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m19.705s, 75 laps (ultrasofts)
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m19.952s +0.247s, 139 laps (softs)
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m21.153s +1.448s, 70 laps (softs)
4 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m21.396s +1.691s, 51 laps (softs)
5 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m21.791s +2.086s, 42 laps (softs)
6 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1m21.824s +2.119s, 126 laps (supersoft)
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m22.090s +2.385s, 95 laps (softs)
8 Romain Grosjean Haas F1 1m22.118s +2.413s, 56 laps (supersoft)
9 Lance Stroll Williams 1m22.351s +2.646s, 98 laps (softs)
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1m22.598s +2.893s, 72 laps (ultrasofts)
11 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1m23.540s +3.835s, 32 laps (mediums)
12 Alfonso Celis Force India 1m23.568s +3.863s, 71 laps (supersoft)
13 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m23.952s +4.247s, 31 laps (mediums)

What do you make of the times from the third day of testing? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JA on F1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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152comments

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1

I think Bottas may be more than a match for Lewis this year judging by his impressive start in testing. This duel will turn out to be much more interesting than the one Hamilton had with Rosberg, whom Hamilton had no problem dispatching when his car was on song.

2

This proves the complete dominance of F1 by the Finns since 1728. Good job Mercedes as well.

3

I hope Lance’s dad gave Williams enough money to his repair bills😂
Think about it, this kid has basically had the drive bought for him yet the likes of Pierre Gasly sit on the sidelines.

And now Williams announce that Massa can’t run today’s coz there’s damage to the chassis as a result of Stroll’s mistake yesterday.

4

Hi James any thoughts on redbull RB 13. Not really lighting up testing, however I feel that it’s more about reliability for them them this week. Not hearing much about them.

5

As others have already said: 13kmh difference is the same as Ricciardo had on Hamilton last year in qualifying, and that difference was not 3 seconds but 0.8, so McLaren is really really slow. They are looking slower than the slowest car outhere, the Sauber, nevermind Renault or Force India. Its embarrassing.

6
Clarks4WheelDrift

Hi James, after day 3, is there a growing sense that the FIA may ban the fric like stability suspensions, pushing them toward movable aero or is it Ferrari clutching at straws in as grey rules an area as ever?

7

I don’t think it’s all fully understood

8

So the real news is that the cars are still slower than they were in 2008! (Massa top testing lap record)

9

What stroll is showing me is that these cars are difficult to drive and not just any kid can jump in and be fast straight away. To me that is a massive positive for the sport. It’s showing the F1 is not easy. Over the last few years with the drivers getting younger and younger it started to appear all too easy.

10

The faster and more aggressive the cars are the better the drivers need to be. If drivers are better then we get better action. A faster F1 is a better F1. Simple as. A 1:19:7 so early on in testing is great news for those who desire to see f1 a challenging sport once more. How much faster can they go? Could we see 1.17 by the end of testing? And then how much more faster will they be when these cars return in late spring for the Grand Prix? It’s going to be fascinating!

Young Lance Stroll is showing his struggles early on, something Verstappen didn’t have to go through in the previous F1 generation of cars. I don’t doubt that Verstappen would have found it much more difficult hence the reason why we rarely saw teenagers make the grid in the 00s..unless you were Jenson Button in which case he had to take about 2-3 years before he got fully up to speed in f1. No doubting those first couple of seasons were quite tough for the 09 champ which is why we should be patient with Lance Stroll.

Also given the extra grip and downforce these cars now have does that mean that come a wet race we won’t need to put up with the tragic sight of the safety car leading the pack for 30 odd laps? With the greater grip these cars are generating will mean greater ability in the wet? So less of the sanitised parades that have become a feature of racing in the wet in recent years?

11

Young Lance is going to make alot of highlight clips

12

Lance is showing that the sport isn’t easy. No longer can any young driver can just turn up and race and be on the pace.

13

James, are you going to do an article on the reports that one team has been asked to change its suspension design; the report also indicates that the FIA team, which is inspecting the suspension designs, has already asked the one team to change their design! It further goes on to say that the FIA inspection team has not yet inspected the Red Bull’s suspension.
I read this to be a straight-forward presentation that that it was Mercedes who was inspected, and asked to change the design.

As hoped, by me, Ross Brawn is already proving our hopes in him: the article, by Jonathan Noble, quotes Ross as saying something like, this is the perfect example of something that costs a ridiculous amount, and won’t change the spectacle.
As I mentioned before, it is only advantageous if your main rivals don’t also have it; if they do, all, or most, advantage is negated, and the cost is probably in the tens of millions!
Go Ross, go!
Some sanity, rather than wait for a challenge to the stewards on the design of the winning team’s suspension!
Quel grand fou!

14

James do you have any info on what power levels the 4 engine manufacturers are at and what developments they have in the pipeline?

15

Very hard to get

Merc must be at 1,000 by now on full beans
Ferrari close and Renault great job

16

Notice how James left out the 4th manufacturer 😎 they are a non-story…. silence is golden. Honestly would anyone have even noticed Mclaren last year if it weren’t for the two world champions in the car? I wonder..

17

‘Silence is golden’. I hear you eric.

18

That should be the title of your 2017 Retrospective: “Battle of the Beans”.

19

Just watched sky coverage and it is thought that the cars will be another 2 seconds faster next week with fuel pumped out. Set up work and engines turned up. 😊. The cars should be spectacular around Silverstone.

20

I read a lot of comments saying mercedes is sandbagging and ferrari not as fast as mercedes. But by the same time ferrari is on the slower tire compound.

So if ferrari is able to do 1’19” on soft without pushing like creasy so mercedes is able to do low 1’18 on soft tire, 1’16”-1’17” on SuperSoft and in full qualification mode perhaps low 1’16” …

These numbers are incredibles

Can’t wait to see these cars on full power in quali simulation… we might get some new lap records this year

21

Sigh…

At this point I won’t be surprised if Lewis wins every single race.

Ferrari look reasonable, but, déjà vu.

Red Bull, meh.

McLaren… wonder when Alonso is going to jack it in. Car looks to be a dog, even before you get to the Honda bit.

22

Looks like we have a new Maldonado.Red Bull sandbagging bigtime with Renault so close.

23

And Williams were considering to provide extra time for the lost track time from the money paid from his dad’s pocket

24

It seems to me that Mercedes are trying very hard to top the timesheets every day of testing. They throw on ultra softs to set a time when almost everyone else is comfortable enough to work through their testing program without worrying about being on top. It’s like they are desperate to prove that they still have an advantage over everyone else, “don’t even bother turning up guys, we have you covered again this year”.

As for looks I think the cars are so much better this year, wide and low, with big wheels. But they still sound like a fart in a jar.

25

Interesting feedback….

>
“On the other hand, with the technology we have now, with the current aerodynamic packages, the engines, I think the driver is even less important,” Alonso added.

“I think this year a few corners are disappearing and so if last year you had 20 horse power less and lost three or four tenths, this year you might lose half a second.”

26

Alonso seems lost in his analyses. Probably because of his total disappointment in Mclaren.

27

He also said if these tyres where on the 2004 cars they would do 1:14’s because of how much lighter they were.

28

I don’t doubt that at all.

29

McHonda still don’t seem to have made that hoped-for break-through, but for me the big question/disappointment after 3 days is why the beautiful Toro Rosso is so slow?

30

Looks like Ferrari have a strong car, but it also appears they may have put their fast laps in on half the fuel load of Mercedes. It’s great to see they have a strong car, but I still believe the Merc could go up to a second quicker than Ferrari on out-and-out pace, when it comes to it.
Unfortunately.
My dream is to have a major shake up and see Ferrari lock out the front row of the grid in Oz

31

TAG McLaren International and Honda = ambitious, but rubbish.

13 KPH slower is around 8 MPH in old money…………that’s a hell of a lot of straightline performance to give away even if the Honda PU is on Chicken Korma One Chilli mode. That’s a deficit of at least 80 BHP to the Merc power unit – and that’s 8 tenths in racing speak. McHonda have a huge amount of catching up to do – Jenson Button must be counting his lucky stars he walked away from what could be a soul destroying interminable slog of a season!

32

Button shouldn’t get too comfortable. There’s an awkward conversation ahead when Alonso tells the team he’s not racing that pile of junk, and they turn to Button to fill the seat.

33

If they really want to bring the lap times down, they should get rid of that crappy chicane at the end of the lap. That final corner used to be (as Martin Brundle would say) mighty, but they ruined it by adding that mickey mouse section.

34
Gabo Rochinotti

Agreed, but we know why it was added: to make it easier for cars to follow each other coming into the main straight, so there can be more overtaking at the end of the straight. Every track that was not built by Tilke had to adapt to this trend. It’s the ongoing Tilkenization of F1 circuits. I wonder when will they try to insert a chicane before the Parabolica at Monza. “Save the Parabolica!” will be our motto.

35

Couldn’t agree more.

36

Interestingly, after today’s running, Rosberg reckons Ferrari are Mercedes’ closest challengers as Red Bull are a little bit off the pace

And what is encouraging for Ferrari is they seem to work the harder tyres better than previous seasons.

Otherwise, another successful test for both Ferrari and Mercedes with high mileage and this time they were joined by Sauber in the century club so well done to the private team

Who also impressed on the day was rookie Celis for despite being a newbie he was able to tame these monster machines

Overall, as is usually the case, the midfield is where the fun will be at as these groups of people tend to be as fast as each other

37

@goferet
“Overall, as is usually the case, the midfield is where the fun will be at…” – tell that to Senna, Schumacher, Prost, Alonso, Hamilton…, – It feels just wrong, doesn`t it? F1 marketing apartment did a very good job telling fans to look another way and concentrate on some pseudo competition away from the very top.

It doesn`t bode well when Ferrari is the main challenger to champions. They have lost it every time in last decade except 2007 when McLaren tried to make both their drivers 2007 champions.

38

They should have outright supported Hamilton, the faster and more talented of the two.

39

@ erik

Hahaha yes, the midfielders don’t have so many resources therefore they tend to be closely matched and if the front of the grid is boring, the FOM cameras have to look elsewhere to entertain the fans

40

Interesting about working the harder tyre now.

Without counting chickens, if qualifying means Mercedes beating Ferrari by using softer tyres then race strategy could be very interesting with Ferrari running longer.

41

@ Herowassenna

In theory this is correct however, Ferrari has struggled with strategy for quite sometime unless of course, they have got better strategy people recently

42

Rosberg also reckons that with these cars F1 drivers are gladiators again. …And the websites eat it up like a baby eats minced carrots. Meanwhile, we’ve barely beaten V8 quali time from 7 years ago.

43

@ Sebee

Sweet, if F1 drivers are gladiators once again, this means they will truly earn their wages and cherish their points a lot more

44

Read Alonso comment below. He argues the exact opposite about driver making a difference.

45

13kmh doesnt compute with nearly 3 seconds deficit. Several on track observers reported the McLaren having huge handling issues, even with a down tuned engine. They are having huge problems and not just with their engine.

46

13 km/h is just one point on the lap. You have to assume the performance is lacking on every straight and acceleration zone.
If this is added to poor handling characteristics then 3 seconds is not difficult to explain.

47

13kmh difference is the same as Ricciardo had on Hamilton last year in qualifying, and that difference was not 3 seconds but 0.8, so McLaren is really really slow.

48

I was going to write a longer post trying to explain a thought that is kicking around in my head, but instead, I’ll just ask a question…

How much (if any) of the Ferrari is the work of James Allison? How early did he start on the 2017 project (if at all), and in hindsight, does put the “dismal” Ferrari 2016 campaign in a different light?

The reason I ask is because James Allison once said that his goal at Ferrari was to break their culture of “Robbing the future Peter to pay the Current Paul”. Basically, their culture of spending too much energy trying to win a championship that was already lost, instead of looking ahead and getting ahead.

49

I doubt he had much input at all.

3 1/2 day week before suffering the devastation of losing his wife in March.

His return in May was short lived and he was gone by June.

I seriously doubt he had any input into this year’s car.

50

He is a disciple of Ross Brawn, so he’s a long term planner

51

Pity he wasn’t a 24/7 man like brawn.

I appreciate his personal loss last year but all sources claim that he was there merely half the week prior to his trauma.

Brawn also had a history of success dating back to Beneton and even Jaguar before that.

Allison has hung off the coat tails of other directors and when he’s been in charge at Lotus and Ferrari you’d have to question his actual direction. A car that’s good for third place overall.

52

That’s pretty harsh

He was in charge and present before his loss

53

Sorry, James. I noticed later that this question was already asked on your blog, and so it was a bit redundant.

I’m very interested now to see how this Ferrari goes in Melbourne, and very cautious about its development potential knowing the man behind the concept is now with their main rival.

That being said, knowing he probably had more input than I originally suspected, I have a bit more confidence in what I am seeing from them in testing.

54

Can you please include some disclaimer mentioning it is not entirely correct to read too much into shown times?

I do not say someone is sandbagging, not at all, rather no one is pursuing top times. So, when we have Mercedes on ultras .2s faster than Ferrari on softs, it doesn’t mean Ferrari or Mercedes is truly faster.
Today we had more than a second shoven from yesterday’s times, on similar tires… this is both for consideration, and a point to doubters we have faster cars on our hands. And it was only the 3rd day.

55

Sauber must be sandbagging 😉

56
Devils Advocate

Sauber must be sandbagging 😉

Too good. Manor are probably sandbagging too in the stands

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