Red Bull makes progress, Mercedes hit trouble

© F1 Pulse, 28 February 2014
© AP Photo/Hasan Jamali

Red Bull had its most successful day of testing after the champions managed to complete 66 laps to feature third in the time sheets in Bahrain on Friday.

Troubled throughout the course of the pre-season tests, Daniel Ricciardo was able to provide the team vital mileage although rivals powered by Mercedes managed to feature on the track a lot more.

Sergio Perez was quickest for the second straight day in his Force India ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who completed a mammoth 122 laps.

"600 kilometres are always welcome, but it's still too early to say we are a hundred percent ready for Melbourne," Alonso said.

Although Red Bull completed just over half the distance managed by Ferrari, it can take respite in its sister team Toro Rosso, also powered by Renault, which added 61 laps to its tally along with engine mapping work.

Red Bull hailed its efforts as a "significant progress", even managing to get in some pit stop practice and conduct a number of background tests and aerodynamic evaluations on the way even though it was delayed in the morning.

"We also did one long run at the end, which was very important, just to see how the car is behaving with the tyres," reported Ricciardo referring to the run of 20 timed laps, the team's longest so far.


While Force India and Williams emerged as the most reliable among the Mercedes runners on Friday, the works team and McLaren suffered.

Lewis Hamilton had a "fairly average day" after his running was curtailed with 90 minutes remaining due to a gearbox problem. A failure in the ERS system also delayed his run during the final stint, with the team now afflicted by reliability niggles for the second day in a row.

"There are no specific problem areas, just lots of different things we need to improve," said Hamilton, who had a spin earlier in the day. "It might be frustrating at times but finding (problems) at this stage is actually a positive."

McLaren too had a gearbox issue with the resultant repairs keeping the car from the track for much of the day.

"It was a shame to lose that time – it's the first major issue we've had this winter," Jenson Button pointed out.

Lotus covered the least number of laps. Pastor Maldonado could do no more than the distance he had done on the preceding day after a localised fire in the rear of the car, that caused a reasonable amount of damage, ended his session prematurely.

The test will end on Sunday.

Pos. Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Sergio Perez Force India 1m 35.570s - 108
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m 35.634s +0.064s 122
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m 35.743s +0.173s 66
4 Felipe Massa Williams 1m 36.507s +0.937s 103
5 Jenson Button McLaren 1m 36.901s +1.331s 52
6 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m 38.092s +2.522s 75
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m 39.041s +3.471s 89
8 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m 39.636s +4.066s 61
9 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m 39.976s +4.406s 106
10 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1m 41.613s +6.043s 31
11 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1m 42.516s +6.946s 55


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