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Midday Times: Bahrain 02-03

NEWS STORY
02/03/2014

Taking over from yesterday's pace-setter, Felipe Massa, Valtteri Bottas continues to impress in the Williams, the Finn topping the timesheets as the teams break for lunch on the final day of pre-season testing.

Having failed to complete a single lap yesterday, things are a little better for Sebastian Vettel and his team today, but only just.

Around an hour before lunch the German spun at T1 - now renamed in honour of his countryman Michael Schumacher. Once back in the pits the world champion changed out of his overalls suggesting that his team has major work to do on his car.

While the new regulations mean that (initially) almost every job takes at least twice the time it used to, it's understood the spin was due to a brake disc failure - nothing to do with power units, packaging, software or overheating - so hopefully he'll get some decent running this afternoon.

Another driver suffering today is Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes never quite capturing the form shown last week, the team is suffering numerous technical problems. The Englishman, who it is understood encountered a gearbox issue, didn't appear until shortly before the break leaving time for just 5 laps.

Problems for Lotus also, Romain Grosjean bringing out the red flags when he stopped on the back straight shortly before lunch, he and Vettel being the only stoppages over the course of the morning. It's understood that Lotus' problem relates, yet again, to software.

After a dreadful day yesterday, when he completed just one lap, things have been altogether better today for Adrian Sutil, the German having completed 91 laps thus far on his way to fifth place. This afternoon he hands the C33 over to teammate Esteban Gutierrez.

Then again, this demonstrates the erratic reliability of some of the cars this season, perfect one moment then side-lined the next, not that Williams or Force India appear to be suffering such issues.

With just four hours of pre-season testing remaining before the teams pack up for Melbourne we can expect this afternoon to be very busy.

Midday Times - All Times Unofficial

Name Team Laps Time Gap
Bottas Williams 60 1:34.797 127.711 mph
Alonso Ferrari 27 1:35.509 0.712
Hulkenberg Force India 30 1:35.577 0.780
Vergne Toro Rosso 43 1:35.701 0.904
Sutil Sauber 91 1:36.467 1.670
Button McLaren 18 1:38.111 3.314
Hamilton Mercedes 5 1:38.650 3.853
Kobayashi Caterham 58 1:38.653 3.856
Grosjean Lotus 24 1:39.517 4.720
Vettel Red Bull 44 1:39.708 4.911
Chilton Marussia 10 1:41.242 6.445

Check out our Sunday gallery, here.

Chris Balfe

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