The first winter test at Bahrain International Circuit got underway today with Lotus F1 making its public debut. Romain Grosjean was the first to be able to drive the new E22 after the team skipped the first test at Jerez.
Mercedes, Ferrari and Force India soon appeared on track with various aero verification racks, focusing on development work. It is expected that at Bahrain, teams will be able to gather much more interesting performance data due to the nature of the track, the long straight and the higher ambient temperatures.
It was however a slow start for most, as 2 hours into the running, Alonso had completed the most laps, 13, even though Lewis Hamilton was fastest. The Spaniard however later faces an engine failure when coming out of the pits as the Ferrari blew white smoke out of the tailpipe. The Spaniard's Ferrari F14 T was immediately pulled back into the garage as the Scuderia set about to invistigate the problem.
Despite limited running for those who did come out, only Scuderia Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing did not complete a single lap in the first two hours of running.
By 2 o'clock local time and with half the day gone, Red Bull Racing finally managed to get out as Vettel completed 4 laps with a single timed lap of 1:45.095 , not dissimilar to the times set by other Renault runners. Lewis Hamilton meanwhile got back on top of the timesheet with a 1:37.908, having completed 58 laps.
By the end of the day, the differences between Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault had become even more obvious with Nico Hulkenberg setting the fastest time of the day, ahead of Alonso, Hamilton and Magnussen.
Sebastian Vettel managed only 14 laps during the entire day, hampered with further integration issues of the Renault engine into the Red Bull Chassis. Toro Rosso meanwhile struggled with electrical issues while Williams endured a problem with the fuel pump that could not be changed in time for more running.
Romain Grosjean meanwhile in the debuting Lotus completed 8 laps before the team found an issue with the battery system that required a change of batteries in their E22.
|5.||Vettel||Red Bull Racing||1:40.224||+3.344||14|
|11.||Bianchi||Marussia F1 Team||-||-||3|