Maldonado tops eventful day at Barcelona

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F1 Test, Barcelona, Circuit de Catalunyaes

Testing at Barcelona kicked off this morning in chilly conditions but with clear skies and good predictions, it looked set to become a perfect day for the 5th day of pre-season testing.

As soon as the lights turned green, Felipe Nasr was the first to head out in the Sauber, quickly followed by Pascal Wehrlein in last year's Force India VJM07, Susie Wolff in the Williams and Raikkonen in the new Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton joined the track action a few moments later but was the first to set a time on the board, having stayed out following his first installation lap. The World Champion however completed the lap very slowly. Nearly two hours later, and with just 11 laps on the tally, Mercedes reported that Lewis Hamilton was unwell and would not continue today's testing. Instead, Pascal Wehrlein was called away from Force India to run for Mercedes in the afternoon.

The move from Wehrlein triggered Sahara Force India to call Sergio Perez to commence testing, even though he was initially only scheduled to start driving duties on Friday.

In the meantime, Pastor Maldonado caused the session to be stopped twice. At 9:25 and around 10:35 he caused a red flag situation as he halted on track in turn 5.

By 12:00, Susie Wolff already completed more than 40 laps. Verstappen, Raikkonen and Maldonado totalled around 30 while Jenson Button in the McLaren Honda MP4-30 managed 21 laps. Red Bull Racing on the other hand appear to be struggling early on with just 8 installation laps and no time set in the first 3 hours of the test.

For McLaren, those 21 laps also proved to be the end of their day, as MGU-K (the KERS motor) has failed, and an engine change is required to get going again.

Soon after the lunch break, Kimi Raikkonen took a major leap and jumped atop the timesheets, recording a lap around Catalunya in 1:25.167, at the time 1.7s quicker than second fastest man Sergio Pérez in last year's VJM07.

Minutes later, Susie Wolff and Felipe Nasr simultaneously ended up in the gravel trap with Wolff admitting she hadn't seen Nasr coming up. The latter was on a quick lap while Wolff was doing a slow one in the Williams and shut the door. The Brazilian thereby severely damaged his Sauber C34, including a broken rear wing, rear suspension, damaged floor and gearbox, marking the end of the day for Sauber.

15 minutes later, the track was cleared and testing resumed with Raikkonen, Pérez and Ricciardo immediately back out on track.

After that coming together, it was mostly Ricciardo and Verstappen who did the running. Mercedes reported a fuel pump issue while Sauber was hard at work trying to repair its car for another run. They eventually made it, but once the car was out on track, the team noted unusual telemetry readings and asked Nasr to park it immediately, red flagging the session and at the same time ending the first day of testing at Barcelona.

As the first day of testing at the Barcelona track came to an end it was Pastor Maldonado who finished on top of the time sheets, followed by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo.


1.P. MaldonadoLotus F1 Team01:25.01169
2.K. RaikkonenFerrari01:25.16774
3.D. RicciardoRed Bull01:25.54759
4.S. PerezForce India F101:26.63634
5.F. NasrSauber01:27.30779
6.M. VerstappenScuderia Toro Rosso01:27.90094
7.J. ButtonMcLaren01:28.18221
8.P. WehrleinForce India F101:28.32932
9.P. WehrleinMercedes Grand Prix01:28.48948
10.S. WolffWilliams01:28.90686
11.L. HamiltonMercedes Grand Prix01:30.42911