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Hamilton fastest by two tenths of a second on soft tyres ahead of Williams' Massa on supersofts. Raikkonen third for Ferrari.
Sat 28.02.15, 6:06PM
Lewis Hamilton continued Mercedes seemingly effortless domination of the final F1 test of pre-season, with the world champion utilizing an “experimental set-up” to top the timesheet by two tenths of a second ahead of Williams’ Felipe Massa.
After a quiet morning in which the Briton was sixth fastest and in which Mercedes ended running an hour before the lunch break to prepare the set-up variation, Hamilton then stayed in the garage until midway through the afternoon session. When he did emerge, however, it was with intent.
Running soft tyres he brushed past the morning best time of Felipe Massa – set on supersoft tyres – by two tenths of a second.
Massa had held sway for most of the day after a morning duel with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. After the Williams driver had set a medium-tyre benchmark, Raikkon ran the same compound to slot into second place behind the Brazilian. And when Massa bolted on supersoft tyres for a qualifying sim, Raikkonen matched him. It was the Williams man who won out however, setting a time of 1:23.262 to sit a hundredth of a second clear of the Finn at the lunch break. Hamilton, though, eclipsed both with his lap of 1:23.022 on the harder compound.
Williams though were evidently pleased with Massa’s efforts and the Mercedes powered team called a halt to running with an hour left on the clock, stating that it had completed its full programme for the day.
Raikkonen, meanwhile, switched to long runs in the afternoon and managed another race simulation for the Maranello outfit.
Fourth place on the timesheet went to Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz who late in the day set a time of 1:24.191, just over a second down on Hamilton’s best. The Spaniard then almost immediately brought out the red flags, stopping at Turn Three. He had, however, enjoyed a successful day to that point, logging 132 laps, which included a race simulation.
Sainz’s stoppage was just the second of the day. The session had been trouble-free until late in the afternoon but then with half an hour remaining Marcus Ericsson stopped at Turn Three. Until that point the Sauber driver had also enjoyed a solid outing, running third fastest in the morning on the supersoft tyre and then working through a race simulation in the afternoon for a total of 123 laps and sixth place on the timesheet.
Long runs were the order of the afternoon for most. Romain Grosjean put in 116 laps, although he too delivered a late-afternoon short run that saw him rise to fifth on the timesheet with a lap of 1:24.200.
With Ericsson sixth, seventh place went to Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg. The Silverstone-based team had given a successful debut to its 2015 car yesterday, getting through 77 laps on its first outing and Hulkenberg continued the good work, posting day three’s largest lap total of 158.
After Jenson Button had driven McLaren’s best day of testing yesterday, putting 101 laps on the new MP4-30, reserve driver Kevin Magnussen took over today, in place of race driver Fernando Alonso who is resting after his crash in testing last week.
Magnussen’s total was less impressive than Button’s, however, and the Dane managed just 39 laps before McLaren called a halt to running, citing an oil leak for the cessation.
The final place on the timesheet went to Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo. The Renault-powered team once again ignored the temptation to run on soft or supersoft tyres and focused on more aero work and long runs, with Ricciardo eventually putting 128 laps on the board.
Barcelona Second Test – Day Three
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:23.022s 76 laps
2 Felipe Massa Williams 1:23.262s +0.240 102
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:23.276s +0.254 136
4 Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso 1:24.191s +1.169 132
5 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:24.200s +1.178 116
6 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:24.477s +1.455
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:24.939s +1.917 158
8 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:25.225s +2.203 39
9 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:25.742s +2.720 128
Mercedes driver fastest by 1.2s ahead of Williams' Bottas. McLaren enjoy good day as Button completes 101 laps.
Fri 27.02.15, 7:07PM
Nico Robserg today confirmed the extent of Mercedes advantage by posting the fastest time of pre-season testing so far, lapping Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya in 1:22.792.
Rosberg set the time midway through the afternoon session as Mercedes ran its W05 car on soft tyres for the first time in winter testing. The time was 1.2 seconds clear of nearest rival Valtteri Bottas, who also used the soft tyre to take his Mercedes-power Williams to a best time of 1:23.995. Rosberg’s time was also 0.7s quicker than day one’s best time set by Williams Felipe Massa on the soft tyre. To complete the picture the Mercedes driver also put 106 laps on the board,
Felipe Nasr set the day’s third fastest time. The Sauber driver used the soft tyre to set a time six hundredths of a second off that set by Bottas. Nasr held sway in the morning session but then switched to a race simulation in the afternoon, eventually getting through 141 laps in total.
His wasn’t day’s biggest total, however. Fourth-placed Sebastian Vettel ground out 143 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya as Ferrari trialled a series of upgrades across a long day of clean running, which included a race simulation.
Three other teams managed to crack the 100-lap mark and remarkably one of those was McLaren. The Honda-powered team managed just seven laps yesterday before a mechanical issue ended their running but today Jenson Button ran without problem for the bulk of the sessions. The team even managed a short outing on the soft tyre with Button claiming fifth place on the timesheet with his lap of 1:25.590.
The Briton’s running was eventually halted 20 minutes before the chequered flag when his MP4-30 stopped at the exit of Turn Seven. It was, however, the team’s most successful day of testing so far this winter.
Pastor Maldonado finished seventh for Lotus and the Venezuelan was responsible for the day’s final red flag when he stopped his Lotus E23 at the pit entry in the final minute of the afternoon session. He too had passed the century of laps mark, recording 140 tours on a good day for the Enstone team.
Max Vertappen, in eighth, might have claimed the distance award if his Toro Rosso had reached the chequered flag. However, after 139 laps, the Dutch teenage was forced back to the garage by an electrical problem that ended his running an hour early.
Daniil Kvyat finished the day in ninth place on the timesheet. After a mechanical problem yesterday the team stuck to short run aero work in the morning as it awaited new parts. After they had been installed over lunch the Russian switched to long runs but his plans were interrupted by a sensor failure that necessitated a return to the garage for a spell. He managed to get out again but it was another quietly methodical day for Red Bull.
Occupying the final slot on the timesheet was Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg. The German giving a track debut to the team’s 2015 car. It was a very productive outing too, the team getting through 77 laps without issue.
Barcelona Final Test - Day Two 1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:22.792s 106 laps 2 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:23.995s +1.203 90 3 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:24.071s +1.279 141 4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:25.339s +2.547 143 5 Jenson Button McLaren 1:25.590s +2.798 101 6 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:26.705s +3.913 140 7 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:26.766s +3.974 139 8 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull Racing 1:26.965 +4.173 84 9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:28.412s +5.620 77
Rounds 1&2 – Autódromo Termas De Río Hondo, Argentina
Fri 27.02.15, 4:04PM
The 2015 FIA World Touring Car Championship gets underway with the WTCC Race of Argentina from 6-8 March when a packed grid of TC1 cars will compete for honours in front of an estimated 50,000 fans. Local hero and reigning champion José María López has won three of the four WTCC races held at Autódromo Termas De Río Hondo and will be among the favourites for victory in the two races, which will be televised live around the world. The Argentine is one of five drivers representing Citroën where his team-mates include four-time WTCC champion Yvan Muller and Sébastien Loeb, world rally champion on nine occasions. Honda’s factory team consists of Tiago Monteiro and Gabriele Tarquini, while Rob Huff and James Thompson will give LADA’s all-new Vesta TC1 its WTCC debut. Several privateer drivers will compete for the Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy, while a total of 12 nations will be represented.
AUTÓDROMO TERMAS DE RÍO HONDO
2 x 13 laps / 62.478km
Termas De Río Hondo, Santiago Del Estero, Argentina
Qualifying – 1:43.766/168.73kph, José María López (Citroën C-Elysée), 2 August 2014
Race – 1:45.926/163.34kph, José María López (Citroën C-Elysée), 3 August 2014
WTCC RACE OF ARGENTINA ROLL OF HONOUR
Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze)
José María López (BMW 320 TC)
José María López (Citroën C-Elysée)
José María López (Citroën C-Elysée)
DID YOU KNOW?
11 May 2008 – Following its build in 2007, the first race takes place at Autódromo Termas De Río Hondo. Four years later the circuit will undergo a complete overhaul under the gaze of Italian track designer Jarno Zaffelli.
4 August 2013 – The WTCC visits Termas De Río Hondo for the first time and Argentine José María López makes a huge impact on a one-off WTCC appearance by winning the second of two races. His performance would earn him a drive with the factory Citroën team for 2014.
3 August 2014 – Former WTCC champion Rob Huff makes history for LADA by leading race two for eight laps before going on to take the make’s first WTCC podium in second place behind local hero José María López, who wins both races for Citroën.
Thursday 5 March
17.00 – 17.30: Family photograph with all WTCC cars and drivers (start/finish straight)
Friday 6 March
08.00 – 18.00: Media accreditation open (accreditation tent)
08.00 – 19.00: Media Centre open
10.00 – 10.30: Testing
15.30 – 16.30: Happy Hour (WTCC VIP Club)
Saturday 7 March
08.00 – 17.00: Media accreditation open (accreditation tent)