Mercedes has upped their pace during day one of the final pre-season testing session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain.
Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Nico Rosberg got behind the wheel for the first day of the second testing session and made his fastest lap on a set of soft tires onboard the Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid. Rosberg managed to complete 82 laps and set a fastest lap time of 1:23.022.
This is the first time Mercedes had gone out on soft tires. During the first pre-season testing session, the current constructors champions have chosen to run with medium and hard tires only. Meanwhile, Rosberg’s teammate and current world champion Lewis Hamilton managed to complete 90 laps as he set a fastest lap time of 1:25.051.
Meanwhile, a slight gearbox issue in the Ferrari kept Kimi Räikkönen from pushing as hard as he could on the track on Tuesday. Räikkönen’s Ferrari SF16-H got stuck in eighth gear just after launch. The Finn driver, however, is keeping cool and positive about it. “I am not concerned as we have time to fix it. That’s the purpose of testing, learning new things and trying something different,” Räikkönen explained. He also said that the car feels good so far. Despite the technical issue, Räikkönen managed to complete 72 laps and set a fastest lap of 1:24.836, way ahead of Hamilton.
On the other hand, testing was also not without issues for McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, who ended up raising the red flags when his McLaren-Honda MP4-31 car suddenly stopped on track. Nonetheless, he managed to complete 93 laps and perform a best lap time of 1:24.735, earning him an unofficial third place.
At the same time, both Red Bull and Haas also suffered problems during Tuesday’s testing session. In contrast, Toro Rosso, Force India, Sauber were able to lap without issues.