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Magnussen sets the pace on Day 2

NEWS STORY
20/02/2014

Despite problems that saw him side-lined for much of the day, McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen topped the timesheets on the second day of testing in Bahrain.

Between them the eleven drivers on duty today completed 676 laps, Valtteri Bottas being the busiest (116 laps) and Max Chilton the least (17 laps).

Yet again Mercedes leads the way, its four teams completing 306 laps while Renault (201) finally overhauled Ferrari (169), though the Italian team does only have three customers compared to the French manufacturer's four.

Magnussen set his fastest time on the supersofts, and while Hulkenberg also ran on the softer rubber his best time was set on the soft. Magnussen's 1:34.910 compares with the 1:33.247 posted by (pace-setter) Alonso in FP3 ahead of last year's Grand Prix.

Magnussen's second day started falteringly after the team encountered an IT issue that required much of the day to rectify. The Woking outfit only began uninterrupted running in mid-afternoon, but quickly got its programme back on track, logging 46 laps, completing a series of tyre evaluations over several long-runs, and completing a live pitstop practice. Magnussen set the best time of the day, and the fastest of the test so far, on supersofts at the very end of the day.

"It's a dream every time I get in the car," said the Dane, "it's just so cool to be here and to be driving. I'm really enjoying it. Unfortunately, we didn't get too many laps done this morning, but it was good to get some laps done at the end of the day. The afternoon was good for us, and we worked through our problems.

"The team is doing a great job to help me: they're giving me really good guidance and making me feel confident. There's a lot of discussion about lap times, and it feels good to get some good times recorded, but winter testing is just that - testing. It isn't about times.

"We're still learning a lot about the car. We have four more days of testing next week and there's still a lot of work to do. I'm sure everything up and down the pitlane will change a lot between now and Australia.

Yesterday's pace-setter Nico Hulkenberg confirmed the pace of the VJM07 though a technical problem in the afternoon limited track time.

"My two days in the car have been very positive," said the German. "We've made some improvements to the car, collected lots of data, and continued to learn with each lap. At the moment it's still early days, but I'm pleased with the progress we have made in terms of understanding the car. I think we are getting closer to seeing the potential of these cars, certainly compared with the performance in Jerez, but it's such a steep learning curve and I expect the times to become quicker and quicker."

"It's been another productive day with aero data collection, performance work and tyre evaluation," added the Silverstone outfit's Chief Operating Officer, Otmar Szafnauer. "We had some aero devices on the car this morning and then continued with the set-up programme that we started yesterday.

"Nico was able to try the various tyre compounds available to us. There was a small amount of downtime in the middle of the day, but on the whole it's been another solid performance with good reliability."

Whilst others uncharacteristically enjoy the limelight, Ferrari is quietly getting on with things. Fernando Alonso, who was second quickest yesterday, was the pace-setter for much of the morning and by close of play was third - having completed an impressive 97 laps - 1.6s off the pace as the team focusses on reliability.

The Spaniard and his team got through a lot of work, starting with aerodynamic tests, followed by detailed evaluation of adjustments made to all the operating systems linked to the power unit, including energy recovery and release. Attention also centred on testing the balance of the F14 T, doing short and long runs with the various tyre compounds.

"We are not yet at the point where we can concentrate on performance," said Alonso, "but the important thing is to continue to rack up kilometres. The team has done a great job of preparation over the winter for these tests, which has allowed us to do a lot of running and test all aspects linked to these new and complex technologies.

"At the moment, everything is going as we expected," he continued, "but there are still a lot of new elements to learn about. Teams and drivers both have little time available and it will be a very big challenge for everyone to be ready when we get to Melbourne."

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