Bahrain F1 test: Lewis Hamilton keeps Mercedes on top
|Wednesday, April 9th 2014, 15:33 GMT|
Mercedes was again the team to beat in Bahrain, as Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets on the final day of the first Formula 1 in-season test of 2014.
Fresh from his success in last weekend's grand prix, Hamilton got straight down to work and soon achieved the best overall time of the two-day test with a 1m34.136s.
His early morning benchmark remained unbeaten throughout the day and the 2008 F1 world champion also accumulated the most laps of the session, being the only driver to reach triple figures with 118 under his belt.
Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne emerged as the best of the rest after a late run in the afternoon brought him within 1.421 seconds of Hamilton's pacesetting time.
Kevin Magnussen set the third quickest time for McLaren but had the ignominy of bringing the morning session to an early end after a technical issue sent him into the gravel at Turn 13 with just five minutes remaining.
Sergio Perez looked set to continue Force India's trend of being the best of the rest in Bahrain as he made progress in the afternoon and emerged as Hamilton's nearest rival, but the Mexican ultimately finished fourth once Vergne and Magnussen picked up the pace.
Rounding off the top five was Daniel Ricciardo, who failed to set a time before lunch due to an electrical issue, but he soon made up the mileage afterwards and ended up 3.174s behind Hamilton after 65 laps of running.
Marussia's Jules Bianchi was just 0.006s shy of the Red Bull in sixth and had a productive day completing a total of 93 laps.
Giedo van der Garde made his return to an F1 cockpit and beat Sauber stablemate Sergey Sirotkin with his time of 1m37.623s - 1.4s faster than the time set by his fellow non-race driver on Tuesday. The Dutchman lost two hours of running to early engine problems.
Ferrari had a torrid session and completed just 12 laps.
Fernando Alonso was testing with Kimi Raikkonen's chassis from the Bahrain GP weekend, but the team discovered damage to the car that forced it to stop running early.
Although Raikkonen completed the grand prix in 10th place, his car did take a violent trip over a kerb, which was subsequently modified, during Friday practice.
Marcus Ericsson also hit trouble, albeit much later on as Caterham was forced to bring a premature end to its day when he suffered an ERS electrical issue that could not be fixed in time.
Williams reserve driver Felipe Nasr was in action for the Grove-based outfit and clocked in 64 laps as it tested tyres for Pirelli alongside Mercedes.
Nasr finished ahead of Romain Grosjean at the bottom of the order after the Frenchman endured a difficult day with Lotus.
In a repeat of Pastor Maldonado's day one engine problems, Grosjean could only manage 16 laps before suffering the same fate as his team-mate.
His best time was 9.596s off the pace, with the car only ever able to run at limited power.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m34.136s 118 2. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m35.557s +1.421s 63 3. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.203s +2.067s 26 4. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m36.586s +2.450s 62 5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m37.310s +3.174s 65 6. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m37.316s +3.180s 93 7. Giedo van der Garde Sauber-Ferrari 1m37.623s +3.487s 77 8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.912s +3.776s 12 9. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m39.263s +5.127s 66 10. Felipe Nasr Williams-Mercedes 1m39.879s +5.743s 64 11. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m43.732s +9.596s 16