Massa sets blistering Bahrain test pace

Tom Howard

Sunday 2nd March, 2014 - 10:30am

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Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa posted the fastest lap in Bahrain Formula 1 pre-season testing so far while further issues hampered Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull.

Williams focussed on their outright performance for Massa’s last day in the car before the Australian Grand Prix.

The Brazilian, shod with super soft tyres, lit up the timing screens in the afternoon with a 1.33.258s, which is the fastest lap so far this year.

“You can never be sure that you are 100% ready for the first race, but I feel that what we have done in these days testing has been important for making sure that we have a car that can not only get to the end of the race, but that will have good performance as well,” said Massa.

Mercedes appeared to have cured the gearbox issues that restricted Lewis Hamilton to limited running, as Nico Rosberg completed 103 laps.

He set the second fastest time just two tenths adrift of Massa.

Kimi Raikkonen put 87 laps on the board for Ferrari and was third quickest.

After a promising showing from Red Bull on Friday, the Milton Keynes squad went back to square one with Vettel unable to complete a single lap.

The reigning world champion could only make it to turn 4 before his RB10 failed, after waiting three hours before entering the fray.

Red Bull fired up the car again but Vettel only made it to the end of the pit lane before another problem hit the team.

“It’s not the best situation to be in but we can’t change it,” said Vettel.

“Everybody is extremely motivated to fix it, but it doesn’t happen overnight.

“We can just hope for a better day tomorrow and then to have a decent start to the season in Melbourne but at this stage obviously reliability is still a big question mark.

“It’s difficult to say how long it will take to remedy. I think some things will just come down to the fact that in two weeks’ time we’ll have lots of new parts on the car.”

Sauber and Lotus also incurred problems for drivers Adrian Sutil and Romain Grosjean respectively.

Sutil completed just one lap before requiring an engine change which put an end to his day, while Grosjean was struck by an electrical problem with just 33 laps under his belt.

McLaren enjoyed a strong day with Kevin Magnussen racking up 88 laps and the fourth fastest time.

Likewise Toro Rosso showed signs of progress with the squad easily the fastest Renault powered machine on the day.

Daniil Kvyat was just 2.8 seconds off the pace but he crucially ran a total of 81 laps.

See below for latest Bahrain test times

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:33.258s   99
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:33.484s +0.226s 103
3. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:35.426s +2.168s 87
4. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1:35.894s +2.636s 88
5. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1:36.113s +2.855s 81
6. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:36.205s +2.947s 115
7. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1:37.087s +3.829s 78
8. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1:38.083s +4.825s 117
9. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:42.166s +8.908s 33
10. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari  No Time   1
11, Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault  No Time   0

 

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