There was rain, there was snow and there was limited running on the second day of Winter Testing ahead of the 2018 F1 season. Read all about it in Lights Out’s Day 2 report!
Driving in today’s test were Valtteri Bottas for Mercedes, Sebastian Vettel for Ferrari, Max Verstappen for Red Bull, Esteban Ocon for Force India, Carlos Sainz for Renault, Pierre Gasly for Toro Rosso, Kevin Magnussen for Haas, Stoffel Vandoorne for McLaren and Charles Leclerc for Sauber. Williams once again opted to split their driving duties for the day. Sergey Sirotkin drove in the morning, while Robert Kubica was on track in the afternoon.
A CHANGE OF SCHEDULE
When the green flag fell at the start of the morning session, the air temperature was below freezing. It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that after ninety minutes, all ten cars had been out and completed just 33 exploratory laps between them. The lack of running this morning saw the scheduled lunch break cancelled, as that was when the weather was forecasted to be at its best for the day. The change to the schedule meant that Mercedes would not swap their drivers half way through the day. Lewis Hamilton sat out his planned afternoon session in order to maximise Valtteri Bottas’ track time.
The forecasted snow and rain in the days ahead meant that teams had been discussing ways to extend this week’s test. The test, however, will not be extended as one team voted against having an extra test day at the end of the week. Williams are scheduled to have a filming day at the track on Friday, so it is believed that they are the team who voted against the change.
Snow began to fall at the track in the late afternoon, leading to just a handful of laps being completed on the chilly track.
TWO RED FLAGS
Charles Leclerc was the perpetrator of the first Red Flag of the day, as he found himself in the gravel after running wide at Turn Four. Meanwhile, Max Verstappen was stuck in the garage. After 105 laps for his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo yesterday, the Dutchman found himself detained in the pits for much of the morning due to a ‘minor’ fuel leak.
By midday, the lap times had started rolling in. Valtteri Bottas set the fastest lap, before Stoffel Vandoorne set a lap of 1:20.325 on the new Hypersoft tyres to place himself fastest. Bottas improved again, displacing the Belgian by less than a tenth of a second. Sebastian Vettel soon found himself fastest, setting the best time of testing so far, before he caused the second Red Flag of the day on his next lap. The Ferrari was undamaged as Vettel ran through the gravel at Turn Two. The Red Flag was called to allow the marshals to clear the track of debris. Sebastian Vettel continued to charge in the afternoon, as he broke the 1:20 barrier. A 1:19.673 would remain the fastest time of the day.
Robert Kubica made an appearance for Williams in the afternoon. It’s the first time he’s appeared at pre-season testing since 2011. Meanwhile, off-track, news broke that Martini would be ending their Williams sponsorship at the end of the current season.
GASLY RIPS HIS RACE SUIT
Pierre Gasly found a flaw in the halo device as he ripped his race suit on it.
“It’s only the first day and I have many holes on the back. You have to be a lot backward to slide in the car, it’s quite weird. Now with all the winglets you have on the Halo you cannot really pull to get out, you can’t really touch it.”
MORE MCLAREN PROBLEMS
Two days into testing and McLaren have done the least laps of any team, with 88 – almost half the number of Toro Rosso and their former engine suppliers, Honda. The team say Stoffel Vandoorne’s running today was halted due to a small exhaust clip break. He managed 37 laps in total today.
DRIVER REACTION TO DAY TWO OF TESTING:
Sergey Sirotkin, Williams
“The weather this morning was very similar to yesterday, but it got better around midday. When we started it was very cold, too cold to try and make any use of the runs, so we just spent our time doing the aero checks among other things, which are less dependent on the weather conditions. Around midday, the temperature came back to us and we switched to try to do some proper running, but it was still not ideal. We did 52 laps overall, which is ok, we got a first impression of the car and the first things to pay attention to. Again, it wasn’t ideal but it wasn’t ideal for anyone. We got the maximum we could so we should be happy with how we reacted to the situation.”
Robert Kubica, Williams
“I think we have achieved the maximum we could do due to the weather and general track temperatures. I got my first feeling for the car, and saw what we were able to do in difficult conditions. It is not easy to jump into a new car with such difficult weather conditions and have the confidence to push, but I think we did some important work, although it was short. However, it gave us, and especially myself, an idea of how to work better for the future to address some areas where we can improve the car. The car has some very powerful areas, but, in the meantime, we need to work on some issues which I am sure we will get on top of. If we do that then the driveability, and also the confidence of the driver will be higher.”
Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso
“Conditions were really tricky today so we didn’t run as much as we could have done. This afternoon was the first time I drove a Formula 1 car in “snow conditions”, so it was quite epic! In terms of work, we got some good laps and more understanding about the car and the engine. We had some interesting tests, so overall I’m happy about today. The first feeling is positive, I felt comfortable with the car – It’s consistent from one corner to another, between the low speed, medium speed and high speed. I still have a lot of work to do and I think we have some good directions overall. We didn’t do any qualifying runs or pushing laps, as our aim was more completing many laps and this is what we achieved, even if we changed the run plan because of the weather. This morning we started really late but I think overall we maximised the time we had on track and we did the best we could do with the conditions.”
Carlos Sainz, Renault
“It was even colder than yesterday and I’m not sure how we managed to complete as many laps as we did ! In the end we completed 65, which was good training for my neck and body even if the conditions weren’t too useful for developing the car. It’s difficult to give too many impressions of the R.S.18 as today was not representative of the weather we should face at a Grand Prix. Next week better conditions are forecast so then we can work on evaluating performance.”
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren
WINTER TESTING DAY TWO RESULT:
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:20.326||67|
|6||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||1:21.318||82|
|9||Esteban Ocon||Force India||1:21.841||79|
Nicky Haldenby is a freelance writer from Scarborough, England. After graduating from the University of Hull in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its fourth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations, and sister site GPDestinations, where he shares regular race previews and articles focussed around the latest in Formula 1 calendar and venue news. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky can also be heard regularly as a guest on various Formula 1 radio shows and podcasts.