F1 testing round-up: Ferrari leads the way as McLaren hits trouble
|By Scott Mitchell||Saturday, March 11th 2017, 11:31 GMT|
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen comfortably topped the times at the end of 2017 pre-season Formula 1 testing, which was a fiasco from start to finish for McLaren-Honda.
After Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes headed the opening test at Barcelona, Ferrari rallied in week two with a display of impressive one-lap and long-run pace.
Raikkonen's 1m18.634s on super-soft tyres was 0.7 seconds faster than any other team managed and came after team-mate Sebastian Vettel visibly held back on his own performance runs.
Vettel backed off twice while on ultra-soft tyres to limit himself to a 1m19.024s, but that was still good enough to keep him clear of the best Mercedes could manage in testing.
The Silver Arrows' new signing Bottas topped day two of the second test on a 1m19.310s on ultra-softs and that just shaded team-mate Lewis Hamilton, whose 1m19.352s a day later also came on ultra-soft tyres.
Vettel's long-run pace also proved encouraging for Ferrari, although Mercedes did not complete a race simulation with the upgraded engine that appeared in the second week.
Ferrari's encouraging showing in the second half of testing was not without its problems.
Raikkonen spun at Turn 3 on Wednesday and hit the wall, damaging the left-hand side of the car and restricting the Finn to 53 laps. He also suffered an on-track stoppage on the final day.
That meant Ferrari did not match Mercedes' mileage, as Hamilton and Bottas added another 540 laps in the second week to accrue a test-best 1096 laps between them - Bottas proving the most industrious driver across all of testing with 628 laps to his name.
That translates into 3170 miles of the Circuit de Catalunya for Mercedes, equal to 16.6 Spanish Grands Prix. Ferrari was still Mercedes' closest challenger on the mileage count, with its SF70H logging 956 laps (2765 miles).
On the engine side, Mercedes led the way again with the works team, Williams and Force India racking up 2681 laps. Ferrari, Haas and Sauber managed 2459, but Renault struggled and Honda had a disaster.
Gremlins in the MGU-K in Renault's new Energy Recovery Systems meant poor reliability for the works outfit, plus its customer teams Red Bull and Toro Rosso.
The French manufacturer's overhaul of its engine concept is the reason for its fragility, which it expects to rectify by the Australian Grand Prix on March 26, and its trio of teams racked up just 1181 laps.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen's final day improvement to a 1m19.438s on super-softs moved him to sixth and within sight of Mercedes, albeit slower than Williams' Felipe Massa on ultra-softs.
Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg also improved on the last day to go seventh and eighth respectively for Toro Rosso and Renault.
There was no such silver lining for McLaren and Honda, though, as a problematic test got worse, not better.
Low mileage (208 laps) and low performance in the first week was followed by a barely-improved lap count of 217, but also Fernando Alonso's damning verdict that Honda's much-anticipated RA617H engine had "no power and no reliability".
Recurring issues exposed Honda's product as deeply flawed, with McLaren suffering numerous technical problems in week and ultimately lapping 2.7s off the pace, quicker only than Sauber.
Alonso (190 laps) and Stoffel Vandoorne (235) caused two red flags each on the final two days, and completed the fewest number of laps of those present at both tests - although Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein, who skipped the first test with a back injury, still managed more laps than Alonso.
COMBINED OVERALL WINTER TESTING STATS
Combined best times: Pos Driver Car Time Gap Tyres 1. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m18.634s SS 2. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m19.024s +0.390s US 3. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m19.310s +0.676s SS 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m19.352s +0.718s US 5. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m19.420s +0.786s US 6. Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 1m19.438s +0.804s SS 7. Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso-Renault 1m19.837s +1.203s US 8. Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m19.885s +1.251s US 9. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m19.900s +1.266s US 10. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m20.116s +1.482s US 11. Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1m20.161s +1.527s US 12. Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m20.205s +1.571s US 13. Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1m20.335s +1.701s S 14. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m20.416s +1.782s SS 15. Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m20.504s +1.870s US 16. Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m21.110s +2.476s US 17. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda 1m21.348s +2.714s US 18. Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1m21.389s +2.755s US 19. Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1m21.670s +3.036s US 20. Pascal Wehrlein Sauber-Ferrari 1m22.347s +3.713s US 21. Antonio Giovinazzi Sauber-Ferrari 1m22.401s +3.767s US 22. Alfonso Celis Jr Force India-Mercedes 1m23.567s +4.933s US Total testing mileage by driver: Pos Driver Miles 1. Valtteri Bottas 1816 2. Sebastian Vettel 1709 3. Lewis Hamilton 1354 4. Marcus Ericsson 1287 5. Felipe Massa 1197 6. Lance Stroll 1117 7. Kevin Magnussen 1068 8. Kimi Raikkonen 1056 9. Esteban Ocon 1056 10. Sergio Perez 1010 11. Max Verstappen 1004 12. Romain Grosjean 1001 13. Daniel Ricciardo 975 14. Nico Hulkenberg 908 15. Carlos Sainz Jr 888 16. Jolyon Palmer 818 17. Daniil Kvyat 801 18. Stoffel Vandoorne 680 19. Pascal Wehrlein 556 20. Fernando Alonso 549 21. Antonio Giovinazzi 437 22. Alfonso Celis Jr 206 Total testing mileage by team: 1. Mercedes 3170 2. Ferrari 2765 3. Williams 2314 4. Sauber 2279 5. Force India 2270 6. Haas 2068 7. Red Bull 1978 8. Renault 1727 9. Toro Rosso 1690 10. McLaren 1229 Total testing mileage by engine: 1. Mercedes 7755 2. Ferrari 7113 3. Renault 5395 4. Honda 1229