Tag: Lewis Hamilton

F1: Free Practice 2: Rosberg top again as rivals hit trouble

Mercedes continued its domination of free practice at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix as several of its rivals ran into trouble in the second practice session.

Once more Nico Rosberg led team-mate Lewis Hamilton, managing to inch the gap up to 0.100s as they both used the soft tyres for the first time this weekend. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel came closest to Mercedes with a time 0.715s off Rosberg and was the only driver within a second of the defending world champions. Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest in the second Ferrari, 1.145s off the fastest time, but complained about an issue on the car later in the session.

Raikkonen’s issues were nothing compared to rivals Williams and Red Bull, however, which both had a car miss the entire session due to an engine change. Daniel Ricciardo was ruled out before the start by Red Bull and Williams soon confirmed Massa would not take part due to a water leak on its Mercedes power unit.

That left Daniil Kvyat and Valtteri Bottas to represent Red Bull and Williams respectively and Bottas managed a time 1.145s off the pace while Kvyat was 2.319s shy. Kvayt was less than a tenth of a second quicker than Carlos Sainz in the Toro Rosso, as the Spanish rookie put in another impressive performance. The Lotus drivers of Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean were also both in the top ten ahead of an improved time for Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg.

McLaren’s weekend took another hit just 15 minutes into the session when Kevin Magnussen crashed at Turn 6. Magnussen managed just four laps before he lost the rear of the car under braking, missed the apex and then struggled to get it slowed down in the gravel, making contact with the tyre barrier on the outside of the corner.

fp2-magnussen-crashes

He walked away from the crash uninjured, but the location of the accident meant the car could not be returned to the garage to fix damage to its front-left suspension and front wing. Jenson Button managed to salvage 21 laps from the session, which will provide the team with useful data, but the car was still 3.690s off the pace of the Mercedes and 13th overall.

Sauber hit the track for the first time this weekend as it continues to fight in court with Giedo van der Garde. Felipe Nasr managed 32 laps and the 11th fastest time, but Marcus Ericsson suffered a left-rear suspension failure after 14 laps, bringing his session to an early end.

For the second session in a row, Manor did not take part as the team works through a number of software issues to get the car fired up. The team has less than 24 hours to get the car ready for qualifying, otherwise it will not be able to race this weekend.

Read more at ESPN

F1: Barcelona Test 2, Day 3: Lewis Hamilton top for Mercedes

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton set the pace on the penultimate day of pre-season Formula 1 testing.

The world champion underlined the impression that Mercedes have a clear advantage by beating Williams’s Felipe Massa despite using slower tyres.

Hamilton was 0.24secs faster than Massa, who edged Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen by 0.014secs, using a tyre which is some 0.5-0.8secs slower a lap.

McLaren-Honda again had their running curtailed by a reliability problem.

Hamilton, who will not drive the car again until the first race of the season, said: “It wasn’t a spectacular day. The track seemed to have lost some grip to the last two days so it wasn’t the best in terms of feeling but we got some running done and I feel good in the car.”

Reserve driver Kevin Magnussen, standing for Fernando Alonso as the Spaniard recovers from concussion sustained in a crash last Sunday, managed only 38 laps before an oil leak in the engine ended the team’s day shortly after lunch.

The Dane was eighth fastest, 2.203secs off the pace, after a run on the soft tyre.

But despite the setback, Magnussen sounded optimistic about the team’s chances afterwards.

“Great to be back in the car today,” he said on Twitter.  “The McLaren-Honda feels great! Plenty more to come from this one.”

Racing director Eric Boullier said: “We won’t be as ready for the Melbourne as we would like, but we will do our best.”

Boullier added that “reliability is still a concern” and he said he expected the team to take until the fifth race of the season in Spain in May “to be more competitive”.

Final pre-season test. Day three, Circuit de Catalunya
1 Lewis Hamilton (GB) Mercedes 1:23.022
2 Felipe Massa (Brz) Williams-Mercedes 1:23.262
3 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:23.276
4 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Toro Rosso-Renault 1:24.191
5 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Lotus-Mercedes 1:24.200
6 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber-Ferrari 1:24.477
7 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Force India-Mercedes 1:24.939
8 Kevin Magnussen (Den) McLaren-Honda 1:25.225
9 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull-Renault 1:25.742

Read more at BBC Sport

F1: Barcelona Test Day 3: Maldonado top again, McLaren hits more trouble

Pastor Maldonado topped another session in Barcelona as McLaren was hampered once again by an MGU-K problem which has limited its running all week.

McLaren hoped it had fixed the faulty seal which had ended its running early on Thursday and limited Fernando Alonso on Friday, but an early stoppage for Button suggested all was not well in the morning. The team confirmed in the late afternoon a recurring issue with the MGU-K seal had been discovered again. The issue means McLaren has completed 109 laps in three days in Barcelona but says a re-engineered seal is scheduled to arrive in time for tomorrow’s final day, when Alonso returns to the cockpit.

day3-mclaren-problems

Maldonado, who finished first on Thursday, topped the session with a 1:24.328, a time set on the super soft tyre. He also broke a century of laps as Lotus once again showed it is adapting well to life with Mercedes power. The factory Mercedes also broke that milestone, with Hamilton driving despite still feeling the effects of the illness which saw him end testing early on Thursday. The world champion completed 101 laps and will hand the car back to Nico Rosberg tomorrow. Max Verstappen finished the day second on the timing screens and leading the lap count with 129, but his day ended in frustrating fashion when he pulled over at the end of the pit exit, bringing out the day’s final red flag.

Ferrari found itself lower on the timesheets than the Tifosi have become accustomed to this winter but headline times are still of limited significance. Sebastian Vettel did not have an ideal start, sliding off just four corners into his first lap due to cold tyres. But the four-time world champion sustained no damage to his car and went on to finish the day with 105 laps, which included an impressive stint on the medium tyre where he lapped consistently in the high 1:28 mark, though fuel loads are unknown.

Daniil Kvyat started a disrupted full race simulation in the afternoon, which included a surprisingly short stint on the soft tyre and a lengthy stoppage at mid-distance. However, the Russian finished the day with 111 laps to his name. Sauber had a gearbox issue in the morning and Marcus Ericsson did not leave the garage until the final minutes before lunch. In the afternoon he saw much more of the track and finished with a tally of 53 laps. Pascal Wehrlein continued to gain F1 experience with 81 laps for Force India, who will hand Nico Hulkenberg the reigns tomorrow. Williams switched its drivers at midday, with Felipe Massa finishing with 55 laps and Valtteri Bottas spending the afternoon focused on pit stops and did not set an official time until four minutes from the end of the session.

Final times:
1. Pastor Maldonado – Lotus – 1:24.348 – 104 laps
2. Max Verstappen – Toro Rosso – 1:24.739 – 129 laps
3. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:26.076 – 101 laps
4. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber – 126.340 – 53 laps
5. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:26.407 – 105 laps
6. Daniil Kvyat – Red Bull – 1:26.589 – 111 laps
7. Felipe Massa – Williams – 1:26.912 – 55 laps
8. Pascal Wehrlein – Force India – 1:27.699 – 81 laps
9. Valtteri Bottas – Williams – 1:27.556 – 48 laps
10. Jenson Button – McLaren – 1:29.151 – 24 laps

Read more at ESPN

F1: Barcelona Test: Day 2: Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo edges Kimi Raikkonen

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo narrowly outpaced Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Williams’ Felipe Massa on the second day of the second pre-season test.

The three were separated by less than 0.1 seconds at the halfway point of Formula 1’s preparations for the new season.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg of world champions Mercedes finished fifth and sixth fastest.

It was a better day for struggling McLaren-Honda, who ran problem-free.

Fernando Alonso set the sixth-fastest time despite a cobbled-together fix for an engine problem that had ended team-mate Jenson Button’s efforts on Thursday after just 21 laps.

Alonso completed more than 50 laps – by far the team’s biggest single-day mileage of the winter – and set relatively competitive lap times, despite the engine being down on power and carrying a known problem.

Honda had warned on Thursday that the temporary fix they had put in place on the energy recovery system could well fail again on Friday. A permanent redesign of the faulty part will be ready for Saturday, when Button is back in the car.

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said: “It is good to finally put some laps and get the programme running. We did more than expected today and caught up on the programme.”

He added that the team were going through data-analysis programmes, including checking how the car behaved and reacting to set-up changes, and it was “so far so good”.

Ricciardo’s pace-setting time was the fastest of the winter at this track, beating that set by Lotus’s Pastor Maldonado on Thursday by nearly half a second.

The Australian was 0.01s quicker than Raikkonen, with Massa a further 0.088s adrift. All were running on the ‘soft’ tyre at the time, as was Alonso on his best lap.

Hamilton completed a race simulation run in the afternoon at the same time as Ricciardo and set his fastest lap – only 0.349s off the Red Bull – on the medium tyre, which is said to be about 1.2 seconds a lap slower than the soft.

Both times were set on similar-length short runs, which suggests the Mercedes continues to have a significant advantage over the rest of the field – as most F1 insiders believed already to be the case.

Rosberg’s best time – 0.982s behind Ricciardo – was also set on the medium tyre.

The German stopped running at lunch time to rest a neck injury and handed over to Hamilton, who had only partially recovered from a fever that curtailed his running on Thursday.

All the teams confirmed as participants in this year’s championship are at the test, where Britain’s Jolyon Palmer was getting his first taste of the new Lotus.

The GP2 champion, the team’s reserve driver, was seventh fastest.

Pre-season testing times are unreliable indicators of true competitiveness as the teams do not publish the fuel loads they are using, which have a dramatic effect on lap time.

Day Two Times:

1 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull-Renault 1:24.574
2 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:24.584
3 Felipe Massa (Bra) Williams-Mercedes 1:24.672
4 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India-Mercedes 1:24.702*
5 Lewis Hamilton (GB) Mercedes 1:24.932
6 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes 1:25.556
7 Fernando Alonso (Spa) McLaren-Honda 1:25.961
8 Jolyon Palmer (GB) Lotus-Mercedes 1:26.280
9 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber-Ferrari 1:27.344
10 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Toro Rosso-Renault 1:28.945
* 2014 car

Read more at BBC Sport

F1: Barcelona Test: Day 1: Maldonado tops eventful first day

Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado topped a scrappy opening day at the second pre-season test in Barcelona, which featured the unusual sight of two cars colliding and saw McLaren and Mercedes hampered by problems.

Maldonado leapt to the top of the timing screen with a 1:25.011 less than one hour from the chequered flag, a lap he set on the soft tyre. Maldonado had a frustrating start with two separate stoppages out on track in the morning but the red flag waving was not limited solely to Lotus.

There was more woe for McLaren-Honda as a faulty seal on the MGU-K forced the team to change the whole power unit and end its first day early. Jenson Button’s start had been promising as he accumulated 21 laps in the first two hours but it was yet another setback for McLaren and its new engine partner.

mclaren-faulty-seal

There was also early difficulty for reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, who completed just 11 laps before ending his day early due to a fever. A neck injury for Nico Rosberg meant Mercedes had to wait until after lunch for reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein, who completed 32 laps in the morning driving Force India’s 2014 car, to step into the breach. A fuel pump problem after lunch hampered Mercedes further, but Wehrlein managed to add another 48 laps before the close of play.

The afternoon session started with an unusual sight for testing as two cars collided. Damage to the left front of Susie Wolff’s Williams and the right rear of Felipe Nasr’s Sauber was the tell-tale sign the two had come together on the run down to Turn 5, with the Sauber beached in the gravel just before the tyre barrier. It is unclear exactly what happened in the crash, though Wolff was on an out-lap when it occurred. Nasr and Wolff both made it out for late runs but the Sauber finished the session early when it stopped at Turn 9, an incident which brought out a late red flag.

wolff-nasr-crash

Kimi Raikkonen continued Ferrari’s solid start to winter testing, completing 73 laps, though it is still hard to gauge whether the team has made inroads to Mercedes because fuel loads are unknown. However, it will be another morale boosting day of testing after topping three of the four days in Jerez earlier this month.

Daniel Ricciardo had been at the foot of the timesheets for much of the morning without recording a time, but the camouflaged Red Bull was one of the more active participants after lunch. The Australian accumulated 58 laps, though rarely in stints longer than five or six at a time. Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstappen also had a disjointed morning and early afternoon but still clocked 93 laps overall with some solid running late in the day. Sergio Perez continued Wehrlein’s good work in the afternoon at Force India and by the end of the session had recorded a 1:26.636 to go 4th, although headline times are still of limited significance.

1. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:25.011 69 Laps
2. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:25.167 73 Laps
3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:25.547 58 Laps
4. Sergio Perez Force India 1:26.636 39 laps
5. Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:27.307 78 Laps
6. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:27.900 93 Laps
7. Jenson Button McLaren 1:28.182 21 Laps
8. Pascal Wehrlein Force India 1:28.329 32 Laps
9. Pascal Wehrlein Mercedes 1:29.489 48 Laps
10. Susie Wolff Williams 1:28.906 83 laps
11. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:30.429 11 Laps

Read more at ESPN

F1: Jerez Test Day 4: Raikkonen top, but slow progress for McLaren

Kimi Raikkonen put Ferrari at the top of the Jerez timesheets for the third day in four as the first week of pre-season testing came to a close on Wednesday.

Raikkonen used soft tyres on a dry track to set the fastest time of the test under sunny skies, beating the time set by team-mate Sebastian Vettel on Monday by over a tenth of a second. Ferrari also completed more than a century of laps in a day for the first time this week with a total of the Finn’s 105.

There was more slow progress for both McLaren and Red Bull as the two former championship-winning teams struggled again for mileage. From its starting point on Sunday and Monday, McLaren has made progress, but a total of 79 laps over the course of the week is a long way off its pre-test target. Positives came from multiple-lap runs without major issues such as overheating, but smaller reliability problems kept it from running throughout the day.

The first run went all of two feet onto the pit apron before the car was rolled back and there was a similar issue as Jenson Button tried to take to the track and stopped in the pit lane on one of his afternoon runs. The team finally called it a day just over an hour before the end of the session when a fuel pump problem could not be fixed. Nevertheless, the team is confident it can be competitive when it is able to turn its power unit up to full power and chase lap times.

day4-button-issues

Red Bull had another slow start to the day as an ERS problem on its Renault power unit forced Daniil Kvyat to park the RB11 on the side of the track. After engine issues on day one, a broken front wing on day two and a full power unit change on day three, the team has only completed 164 laps, which means only McLaren has completed fewer over the course of the four days.

Defending champions Mercedes once again topped the lap count with 117 for Lewis Hamilton despite a half spin in the morning at the chicane. The total for the week comes to 517, a remarkable feat for any team on the first week of running with a new car. Although Mercedes is only interested in mileage this week, Hamilton set the third fastest time with a 1:22.172, which was 1.331s off Raikkonen and 0.153s off Marcus Ericsson in the Sauber. Ericsson’s time meant the two Ferrari-powered cars topped all four of this week’s sessions.

Elsewhere, Max Verstappen added another 97 laps to his tally for the week in the Toro Rosso and Felipe Massa completed 73 laps for Williams. Romain Grosjean took to the track for the first time this year and was impressed with his new Mercedes-powered Lotus. However, a power unit-related problem brought his day to an early end after 53 laps.

Jerez Test Day 4 Times:
1. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:20.841 105 laps 
2. Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:22.019 111 laps 
3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.172 116 laps 
4. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:22.553 97 laps
5. Felipe Massa Williams 1:23.116 73 laps 
6. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:23.802 53 laps 
7. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:23.975 63 laps 
8. Jenson Button McLaren 1:27.980 35 laps

Read more at ESPN

F1: Jerez Test Day 2: Vettel top again as McLaren struggles continue

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel topped the times for the second day in a row at the opening test of the season in Jerez as McLaren again struggled and world champion Lewis Hamilton had his 2015 debut cut short by a water leak.

Vettel improved on his Sunday time with a 1:20.984 before rain in the final hour ruled out any further quick laps. The Ferrari completed a total of 78 laps – another improvement on Sunday – and was lapping in the 1:23s on longer runs. His time was 0.883s clear of his nearest competitor Felipe Nasr, who continued Sauber’s solid start to testing with 87 laps. Rookies Nasr and Max Verstappen in the Toro Rosso went out to get some wet weather experience in the final hour and were joined by some of their rivals as the rain eased ahead of the chequered flag.

Mercedes had already called an early end to Hamilton’s day after a technical problem resulted in a water leak on the W06. Initially the team had hoped to get him back out on track quickly, but the problem proved harder to resolve than it had hoped. Nevertheless, Hamilton still registered 91 laps in total – shy of team-mate Nico Rosberg’s mammoth 157 on Sunday, but still more than any other team managed on Monday.

Red Bull also hit trouble, limiting the RB11’s mileage for the second day in a row. On Sunday the team had power unit related problems but on Monday it was down to driver error. On his debut with the team, Daniil Kvyat made a mistake on a cold track and nudged the barriers – skewing and damaging the front wing.

day2-kvyat

With the pre-season just over a day old, Red Bull did not have a replacement at the track and had to remove the wing completely to allow him to continue to run. In total he notched up 18 laps, but was limited to practice starts at the end of the pit lane and therefore did not set a lap time. The team is having a replacement wing flown in to allow it to resume a proper test programme tomorrow.

Once again the McLaren-Honda was a rare sight on track and Jenson Button could only add six laps to match Fernando Alonso’s tally from day one. The team is struggling to get the new power unit communicating with the other systems on the car and the result was a lap 33 seconds off the pace. In its current state the Honda’s exhaust note is noticeably louder and throatier than its rivals, but it has yet to run smoothly or at high revs to make a fair comparison. McLaren hoped to get the car on track soon after lunch for more mileage, but despite several fire-ups it only emerged from behind the screens covering the garage door in the last 20 minutes of the day to add one extra lap to the morning’s five.

After receiving delivery of its car yesterday from the factory and building it overnight, Lotus made its 2015 debut in the second hour of running with Pastor Maldonado at the wheel. He went on to complete 41 laps but caused a red flag towards the end of the session. Lotus later confirmed the E23 had been curtailed by a drivetrain issue. Williams had a solid if unspectacular day as Valtteri Bottas set a best time of 1:22.319 and completed 61 laps while Verstappen managed 73 in the Toro Rosso and a best time of 1:24.167.

 

 

Jerez Test Day 2
1. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:20.984 87 laps
2. Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:21.867 87 laps
3. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:22.319 61 laps
4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.490 91 laps
5. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:24.490 73 laps 
6. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:25.802 41 laps 
7. Jenson Button McLaren 1:54.655 6 laps 
8. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull No time 18 laps

Read more at ESPN

F1: Mercedes officially launches W06 Hybrid

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have officially unveiled the Mercedes W06 Hybrid in the Jerez pit lane on the morning of the first day of 2015 testing.

The new car is the one Mercedes hopes will successfully defend the drivers’ and constructors’ championships won in 2014. Glimpses of the car had been seen from a filming day in Silverstone earlier this week, but the Jerez launch came ahead of Rosberg’s day behind the wheel. He will alternate days with reigning world champion Hamilton for the remainder of the test.

The W06’s predecessor enjoyed record-breaking dominance last year, with Hamilton and Rosberg winning 16 of 19 races, and the team enters the 2015 as favourites to repeat their world championship success again.

Read more at ESPN

F1: Mercedes will target Alonso if Hamilton deal falls through

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Fernando Alonso would be his main target if he cannot agree terms on a new contract with Lewis Hamilton for 2016.

Hamilton’s current contract is set to expire at the end of the year although both sides have expressed a desire to continue together in 2016.  Negotiations were put on hold during 2014 in order to allow Hamilton to concentrate on the championship and Wolff says there is still no rush to sign a deal just yet in 2015.

“There’s no hurry, it will be discussed during the year,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

However, Hamilton is likely to want more from his new contract while Wolff has talked about doing what is best for Mercedes. Asked what would happen if an agreement could not be reached, Wolff admitted Alonso would be the first alternative.

“I am optimistic [of reaching a deal with Hamilton], the priority is to continue with these two drivers. But if it’s not possible, Alonso is the first alternative. Then there is [Valtteri] Bottas”.

Alonso has signed for McLaren for 2015 and Wolff is expecting the Spaniard to up the team’s competitiveness.

“He’s a dangerous threat in any car. If you have in your hands a car that will finish sixth, he will finish in third place.”

Read more at ESPN

F1: Lewis Hamilton to lose senior engineer Jock Clear to Ferrari

One of Lewis Hamilton’s key technical staff at Mercedes is to leave the team and move to Ferrari.

Jock Clear, Hamilton’s senior performance engineer, will effectively be the replacement for Pat Fry, Ferrari’s former engineering director.

Fry was sacked this week as part of a purge of senior personnel at Ferrari as they seek to arrest years of decline.

Clear is to lead Ferrari’s track-side engineering once he has worked a lengthy notice period with Mercedes.

The 51-year-old handed in his resignation immediately after the final race of the season at the end of November and has a 12-month notice period.

It is unusual for F1 engineers to work out their full notice and an accommodation is likely to be reached with Ferrari over the coming months.

Clear continues to work for Mercedes, who will assess how to reorganise Hamilton’s engineering staff in the new year.

He is likely to be moved away from his current role, which focuses on the cutting edge of performance, given that he is to leave for a major rival.

Clear, who has previously worked with former world champions Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve, had been at the team for 15 years.

He joined British American Racing alongside Villeneuve, with whom he had worked at Williams, when the team were founded in 1999 and stayed through the team’s guises as Honda and Brawn and into Mercedes.

His role at Mercedes was as one of three chassis engineers assigned to Hamilton’s car, assisting the new world champion’s race engineer, the primary contact with the driver, with data analysis.

Mercedes were happy to release Clear as they were unable to offer him a role similar in seniority to his Ferrari position.

Ferrari have also tried to recruit Mercedes’ former technical director Bob Bell, who resigned in April and left the team in November.

Bell, 56, had been lined up for a senior role at Ferrari but is said by insiders to have been unable to take it up in the immediate term because of personal issues.

Read more at BBC Sport