The teams reflect as the second day of the second pre-season test comes to an end.
Daniel Ricciardo returned to the cockpit of the RB14 for a marathon outing that resulted in the ‘Honey Badger' claiming top spot on the timesheet, and the fastest ever time around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with a lap of 1:18.047, set on Pirelli's new hypersoft tyres. Daniel also took the lap count honours, with a total of 164 laps on a highly productive day's testing for the team.
"It was a good day today. I survived!" said Ricciardo, who was scheduled to drive yesterday but was forced to sit out the session due a mild illness. "Today's was an optimistic run plan and I didn't think we'd get that much done but we got through all of it, so that was good. I think I'll sleep well tonight!
"It was a good bunch of laps today and I got a few quick ones in there, which was nice. The hypersoft tyre helped of course but we made some changes early this morning and after some medium runs then we went to the softer tyres and the changes we made seemed to help the car so there was just a bit more confidence and the track was a good temperature today so we could start to get some real testing in.
"It was OK; I would have liked to get into the 17s, but we'll save that for the racing. In terms of the shape we're in, I think we're getting there, we're in a decent place."
"On most days at testing you draw up your run plan, with every minute of the day accounted for," added Head of Race Engineering, Guillaume Rocquelin, "and within an hour you've torn that up and started to move things around. Today wasn't like that and we managed to get through every item on the agenda.
"We focused largely on working as if at a grand prix weekend, so we tried a variety of tyre compounds, we did long runs on high fuel and then a full race simulation, including pit stops and everything. I think the hardest part of today was for Daniel, who wasn't well yesterday. These are fit guys, but when you're not in top form to be asked to get through the workload he did today and lap in the 1m18s is pretty impressive, so hats off to him. In all, it was a very good day for us today. We'll do the same programme with Max tomorrow and hopefully we'll maintain the level of reliability we showed today."
It was another busy day for Mercedes, with the W09 completing 175 laps. Both Lewis and Valtteri's fastest times were in the 1:18s, set on the Ultrasoft compound tyres.
Lewis took the car out in the morning, with Valtteri behind the wheel in the afternoon. Both drivers completed a similar programme today with shorter runs in the beginning and longer runs afterwards. Today's programme focussed on aero tests, pit stop practice and qualifying and race simulations
"The car felt OK," said Bottas. "We did some shorter runs in the beginning, and then longer runs afterwards. We definitely made some improvements once again. We've made good progress since last year, but some other cars look quick as well.
"We had decent temperatures so we could do some proper testing and learned a lot from today. We have some work to do to get more out of the soft compounds.
"I always enjoy trying to extract everything out of the car. But we still haven't unlocked the full potential of the package we have, so there's more to come."
"Today has been positive," added Hamilton. "The car is feeling good and the tyres are working. It's nice to have some good weather so we can really try and get in the mileage.
"The reliability has been good so far, which is a sign of all the great, hard work that the team has put in over the winter.
"It's still a work in progress, but it's definitely going in the right direction. The team's working hard - both here and back at the factory - to continue to climb the upwards gradient which we're currently on.
"I'm just so proud that I'm driving a creation that these guys have all worked to the bone to create. I'm proud to be the one who gets to go out there and try to exploit this car and bring them the results they deserve."
It was a bit of an unusual Wednesday for Ferrari, as both drivers had a turn behind the wheel of the SF71H. The Italian team completed 115 laps, equivalent to a distance of 535 kilometres.
Sebastian Vettel did 66 laps in the morning, the German's best being a 1:19.541. Kimi Raikkonen was only able to drive in the afternoon, feeling unwell and staying in his hotel room until lunchtime. The Finn managed 49 laps, with a fastest time of 1:20.242, as he continued with the programme that had been affected by last week's bad weather.
Both men set their best times on the Soft tyres. Tomorrow, testing continues with Sebastian Vettel driving, so that Raikkonen can make a complete recovery. Kimi will return on Friday, thus bringing the second and final winter test to a close.
"Today was a really good day," said Brendon Hartley, who completed 119 laps on his way to posting the fifth best time, "we had just some little issues in the afternoon which cost us a little bit of time, but we made up for it in the end with a couple of long runs on high fuel. I'm getting to know the STR13 more and more - I hadn't driven since day one of the first test - so that was a really productive day for me and it was nice to see how the car has progressed. Everything has been quite reliable so far, we had a couple of hiccups the last two days which have been resolved and all understood, so overall it's been very good.
"We tried some different setups this morning which made the car quite tricky to drive, but I'm happy to have a couple of spins in testing …it's better to have them here than in the race! In the afternoon I was really comfortable with the car and the long runs, and satisfied to bang in a reasonable time in the end."
"It was an interesting day today," added James Key, "the first time really in the two tests that we've put some of the larger test items on the TR13; some of them mechanical and some aerodynamic. We had a bit of a stop/start morning with various stoppages and minor issues which meant we couldn't really get a consistent set of runs together, which was important for Brendon given that he's only really done one day so far here in Barcelona after the weather conditions last week. This afternoon we managed to get a reasonable amount covered in quite a short space of time towards the end of the day which proved to be productive. He did a good consistent set of laps on race stint running and then trying the softer compounds for short runs at the end, which was good preparation for later in the week.
"We've learned quite a bit from test items we had which has been important for decisions on future development directions and some more immediate steps that we want to follow up. Once again the engine has been very reliable and consistent all day so that's another continuing positive for the power unit side and Honda's progress. Overall, I think it was a productive and very busy day and hopefully we can continue that in the final two days of the test."
"Once again today, the weather did not disappoint," added Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1 Technical Director, "with clear skies and warm temperatures ideal for testing. Brendon, who did not get much running time during Test 1, because of bad weather, was driving.
"We continued the programme from yesterday both on the chassis and PU side, focusing on actual race work. This was a positive day as we managed to complete 119 laps. There was one small issue during the session, but the team worked effectively to immediately identify the cause, deal with it and send Brendon back out on track with the minimum of time lost.
"After six days of testing, some of it affected by bad weather, I'm happy that the collaboration of Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda is working well together as one team. We hope to maintain that momentum and make further steps forward over the remaining two days."
Despite a positive start to the day and some productive initial running, at McLaren Fernando's programme was brought to a halt on track just after 11:00hrs, when the team detected an oil leak.
Given the location of the leak and the time-consuming process required to identify and fix it in-situ, the team opted to swap the power unit so that the problem could be repaired outside the car.
Fernando returned to the track just after 17:00hrs for a further 10 laps before the chequered flag, as well as practice launches and start procedures. The Spaniard completed 57 laps in total and set the sixth-fastest time of the day.
"Of course, the programme we had planned today was longer than 50-something laps," said Alonso, "but Stoffel and I faced a couple of issues over the last couple of days and this is part of testing - hopefully now these things won't happen on lap 10 in Melbourne.
"In a way, it's useful learning and I'm happy that we're continuing to make the car stronger and stronger. We managed to complete all the important parts of the programme this morning, so the rest of the day was more about long runs and putting in extra mileage, without needing any specific information to send back to the factory.
"I'm not worried about the track time we lost today. I have one more day in the car before Australia, and I hope we'll be able to do some long runs and check extra things in order to keep discovering more about our new package, but the fundamental questions we needed to answer in winter testing have been answered, so for me the final day is not crucial. If we went to Australia tomorrow, I'd feel okay."
"It's a shame we lost track time today due to another time-consuming issue," admitted Eric Boullier. "However, in many ways I'm glad these problems are occurring now - in testing - as this is exactly why we're here.
"These are the days when we need to ensure all bases are covered and all processes analysed. We're working with a completely new package for 2018 and it's inevitable that problems such as these will occur, but of course it's frustrating that such issues are both so visible and so lengthy to rectify.
"We've already gathered a large volume of important data and each day we're still making progress with our pre-season preparation, so we'll keep pushing ahead until the end of the test."
At Renault, Carlos Sainz completed 88 laps in the morning before Nico Hulkenberg broached three-figures in the afternoon with 102 laps completed. Running to different programmes, Carlos set a best lap time of 1:20.042; Nico a 1:20.758.
"Today was a great day," said Sainz. "We finished our run plan and did a lot of laps without any trouble. Track conditions were finally starting to be representative: the wind was a lot less at that point, with normal track temperatures and grip levels for Barcelona. This helped us to understand the car. Today we focussed on exploring different set-up options, which was something I really enjoyed. It was a very productive morning."
"That was a good day with some proper time in the car so I'm a happy man," added Hulkenberg. "Obviously, we're still at the early stages of learning about the performance potential, but it's a strong positive to get more than 100 laps on the board so a fine afternoon."
"Today was a decent day where we hit our targets," confirmed Alan Permane, the Enstone outfit's Sporting Director. "Carlos completed long runs and set-up work in the morning, handing over to Nico for some short runs and then a race simulation in the afternoon. The R.S.18 has run faultlessly which means we have a lot of information to work on. For the final days of the test we will run similar programmes as we extract further performance from the car."
Romain Grosjean recorded 78 laps adding to the 55 laps he accumulated last Monday on the opening day of testing.
His quickest time was a 1:20.237, earned on his 25th lap shod on a set of soft tires. It placed him eighth among the 14 drivers nd it was Haas' fastest time thus far in testing.
The day started with an installation lap at 9 a.m. local time on medium tires. Timed runs quickly followed for Grosjean with three stints on the softs, logging 30 laps before a switch to the supersoft compound for two additional runs totalling 20 laps.
For the second consecutive afternoon, time was surrendered in the garage as the team worked feverishly to fix an oil leak discovered after a 13-lap run on medium tires. The VF-18 returned to the circuit with a scant 20 minutes left on the clock. Armed with a set of used supersofts, Grosjean maximized the remaining run time by adding 11 laps before switching to used softs for three, final grid formation laps.
"It's good to be back in the car, I enjoyed the day," said Grosjean. "The team has been doing a good job since the last day I drove, which was the first day of testing. The car felt very nice. The positive feeling I had early on is still there, and I'm still enjoying driving it. We had a bit of an issue in the afternoon which cost us track time, unfortunately. But the time we've had on track has been quality time. The most important thing is that I have a good feeling in the car."
"Another day of testing has gone by," added Guenther Steiner. "We again had a little bit of down time and we didn't do our whole program. It was good to have Romain in on a dry day due to the time he missed last week because of the weather and to get his impression of the car. It wasn't ideal today, but we're still positive about it. We have two more days to go and, hopefully, we can get more laps in."
"We had the best weather so far of this pre-season test," said Paddy Lowe, "and it was relatively warm without significant wind.
"We had a bit of a slow start with a small issue on the car which unfortunately took an hour to understand, but then Lance achieved a very good set of runs, running sets of new softs doing performance tests, and that took us to lunchtime. We managed a lot of work very quickly at lunchtime to get out just after two o'clock with Sergey doing extensive work on soft tyres at high fuel.
"The afternoon was interrupted by an electrical issue which again, lost us about an hour, but we continued that work into a race simulation, including the hypersoft tyre as we did yesterday. We ended the day with the FIA restart sequence tests. We managed a very decent lap count although it would have been far higher if we hadn't lost an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon.
"There is not an awful lot to say about today except, like yesterday, it has been another good day," said Stroll. "I was just in the car this morning, got plenty of running and felt good in the car. We have certainly made another step, so now it is just a matter of continuing that good rhythm and seeing where we are at the end of the week.
"We had a good day in total," added Sirotkin, "despite a couple of small issues. We covered a lot of laps during the afternoon, including my first race simulation, so that felt good. We boxed for a small problem but we managed to sort it quite quickly, so overall, I think we can be happy with how today went."
"I'm really happy with today," said Esteban Ocon. "130 laps is a great effort and we've learned a huge amount. The long runs went well and our pace looks promising at this stage. It's going to help us take some steps forward as we prepare for Melbourne.
"It will be interesting to see how Checo feels after his day in the car tomorrow, but I feel optimistic after the work we've done today. There are plenty of things to analyse and more questions to answer, but we still have two days of testing. I think we are in a good place at the moment."
"Today was a textbook day of testing," added chief race engineer, Tom McCullough, "something we really needed considering all the time lost up to this point. We had a very ambitious run plan, which we completed in addition to some extra things. The car ran reliably and we continued gathering the data that is so important at this time of year, so we are pleased with our work.
"We are now building a better understanding of the VJM11. We did some set-up work in the afternoon and continued our programme with the new tyres. It's been our best day of testing so far and hopefully we will get two more days like this in the rest of the week."
It was a positive day for Sauber, with Charles Leclerc back in the cockpit of the C37. The Monegasque rookie completed a notable total of 160 laps throughout the day, with the main focus on mechanical set-up and tyre work, as well as a race simulation session in the afternoon.
"I am quite satisfied with today's session," said Leclerc. "I completed a solid number of laps and learned a lot, especially during the race simulation runs in the afternoon. We collected a lot of data, which we will now review to prepare for my final day of winter testing. Overall, it was a productive day for us and I look forward to being back on track on Friday."
"Charles completed 160 laps, which has allowed us to collect a lot of useful data," added Jorg Zander, the team's Technical Director. "We tested some different mechanical set-ups and tyre compounds, and completed the first race simulation of the season. We have a lot of work ahead of us, and have to do our best to keep moving in this direction."