Bahrain third 2014 test Test day three

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By: Matt Beer, Glenn Freeman, Ben Anderson, Dan Cross

Summary

Status: Stopped
Our live service will resume for the final day of pre-season testing tomorrow at 06:00 GMT. See you then.

Massa

Massa

That's it for AUTOSPORT's live coverage for the third and penultimate day of testing here in Bahrain.

Our team will be searching high and low in the paddock to get all the latest news and reaction after a day where Renault-powered teams - Red Bull in particular - struggled once again.

Keep up with all the reaction from the teams and drivers on autosport.com over the next few hours.
And here is the aforementioned report:

Button

Button

Felipe Massa sets early pace, Red Bull struggles
The last car to return to the pits is Kvyat, who locks up as he slows for the pitlane speed limit. Talk about making the most of every last second of testing.
Eager to know the main themes and major events of the day? Our full report is imminent.
That's it, another day of testing in the books. Raikkonen improves by less than a tenth as the chequered flag comes out, leaving Massa at the top of the times with the fastest lap we have seen in Bahrain over seven days of running here.
Lots of teams are heading in and out of the pits at the moment - it's been a busy end to this penultimate day of the 2014 pre-season.
No need for the floodlights to get us through these last few minutes today, as it's a much brighter finish weather-wise.
Raikkonen sets personal bests through the first two sectors, but the lap falls away a little bit towards the end and he crosses the line just one hundredth of a second down on his best.
Bianchi dips into the 1m37s as the drivers continue to go for it at the end. Ericsson does Caterham's fastest lap of the Sakhir circuit so far this pre-season, but it's one second adrift of Bianchi's effort.
Raikkonen goes third fastest in the Ferrari with just under 10 minutes left. He manages a low 1m35.
That's narrowly the fastest time yet across the two pre-season tests at the Sakhir circuit. By less than three hundredths of a second...
Massa responds and goes back to the top in the Williams, shaving a further two tenths from Rosberg's best.
Magnussen improves his best time in the McLaren. That's good enough for third overall, but nearly 2.5s adrift of Rosberg.
Three outright fastest sectors from Rosberg as he takes nearly a second out of Massa's fastest lap. That's 100 laps up for the day (despite a late start due to an engine change) and a 1m33.484s.

Mercedes very helpfully tweets a picture of the car leaving the pits a few moments ago on super-soft tyres.
Ericsson gets the Caterham into the 1m39s, for the first time since last week's Bahrain test. Still one second slower than the Marussia though.
Raikkonen

Raikkonen



'Phaser' and Henrik Zachrau both email to say it seems suspicious that Raikkonen is having more problems than Alonso and suggest Ferrari could be scheduling repairs on Kimi's days to give Alonso trouble-free running, while Raymond Schram asks if Ferrari might adjust its schedule to give Kimi more mileage on the final day as Alonso has had more running.
 
EDD STRAW: "Sometimes things just go that way. With only 12 days of testing, usually one driver will be the unfortunate one. For example, prior to today, with one day left for each, Nico Rosberg was about 500km up the road from Lewis Hamilton.
 
"Certainly, Raikkonen has been extremely unfortunate - and has had problems again today - but he's a professional, experienced driver and it won't disadvantage him. As he would doubtless say, he knows what he's doing!
 
"Given the learning curve teams are on with these engines, it would be impossible to build your programme around trying to give one driver the more high-risk days, and there would be no benefit to doing so."
EDD STRAW has an update from the paddock on Lotus's troubles. The team were hindered by an electrical problem with the gearbox fan in the morning, and its running later on was curtailed by an issue with the MGU-K energy recovery system. That was too big a job to complete in time to send Romain Grosjean back out today.
Gyorgy Dora from Hungary asks: Seeing Renault's issues recently, should Honda be worried about its preparations for 2015 as it cannot test the engines in 'real conditions' until next year's test season?
 
EDD STRAW: "It will certainly be difficult for Honda to play catch-up, especially as the regulations explicitly prevent it from running in anything approaching an F1 car. But Honda is investing heavily and if it can do its preparation work properly, it should be able to hit the ground running.
 
"After all, Mercedes has had far fewer problems, as has Ferrari, so it can be done. The question is whether turning up a season late to the party is an advantage or a disadvantage?
Another quick lap from Massa - this one is a 1m35.3s.
Bianchi vaults the Marussia above the Caterham with that last effort - straight into the 1m38s. Caterham hasn't managed better than a 1m39 early in the previous test.
Ericsson

Ericsson


The Swede lops another second off as Caterham focuses on performance for the final part of this test.
Ericsson's just completed his 103rd lap and it's his fastest of the day so far.
Things getting quite intense for Rosberg as we near the end of the third day.

@MercedesAMGF1: "Radio to @nico_rosberg reminding him to "drink" or "blink" He's either rather thirsty or looking very intense, we're not sure which..."
Keith Watkins asks: As the number of power units per season is restricted, how is this affected by the mileage put on while testing? Are extra 
power units allowed for testing?
 
EDD STRAW: "The allocation in testing is unregulated and is unconnected to the five-engines-per-driver rule. When the engine limit was first introduced, there was a rule limiting each team to one test engine, but it was quietly dropped."
Massa does another lap that is faster than anyone else has managed today, although his 1m35.4s is no match for his own best.
Jason Parker asks: Why does everyone on the pitwall see Mercedes as clear favourite for Australia? The Williams seems to have excellent reliability, while Force India and McLaren seem to have decent race pace.
 
EDD STRAW: "As much as anything, it's down to how far advanced with its overall programme Mercedes has been. It made massive progress in the first test, more than anyone else, and has rolled on from there. It has also, in raw speed terms, shown extremely well and few would bet against it being on the front row come Australia.
 
"But, as you point out, things might not be so clear cut in race conditions. The Williams does look good, particularly on race pace, and could be a factor. There are so many variables that it's difficult to predict what will happen, but right now Mercedes is legitimately hailed as favourite.
 
"It is true, though, that there are still question marks over reliability and also exactly how things will pan out in the races."
Ericsson is the latest driver to improve as we approach just 45 minutes to go today. He finds 0.3s in the Caterham.
Rosberg bumps Kvyat down another place with a 1m35.9s.

A quick check of the numbers on Massa's lap tells us that only the Mercedes of Rosberg and Hamilton went faster than that during the first Bahrain test.
McLaren 2003

McLaren 2003


Sergio Mapelli's question about Red Bull's plight and whether the RB10 would be another McLaren MP4-18 is a handy reminder that earlier this year EDD STRAW looked back at the Adrian Newey designs that hadn't turned out well:

When Newey got it wrong
Kvyat's time at the top is short-lived as Massa's Williams smashes his time.

That's a 1m34.4s for the Williams, the fastest time we have seen so far in this final test.
The average laptime over that longer stint for Raikkonen was around 0.1s per lap faster than he managed during his first stint, and around half a second per lap faster than Alonso's (much shorter) second stint was yesterday.

It's still quite some margin adrift of what we saw from Mercedes with Rosberg last week, but track conditions could be playing a part in that.
Another reader question now. Sergio Mapelli asks: Do you think Red Bull is soon going to have to make a
 'B' version of the RB10, and has Adrian Newey created another flawed 
project like the McLaren MP4-18?
 
EDD STRAW: "It's clear there need to be some significant changes in the longer term to optimise the cooling, although whether a full-blown b-spec car is necessary is unclear.

"That said, there have been grand prix weekends where Red Bull has brought so many upgrades that it might as well have been a b-spec, so it's difficult to know where to draw the line as to what defines a b-spec!
 
"Given that all Renault cars are having problems, not to mention how good the Red Bull briefly looked on track yesterday, it seems fair to assume that aerodynamically it is a very fine car.

"Cooling problems can be fixed and the engine will improve, it's just a case of how long it is before the potential is unleashed."
Raikkonen pits for a second time in this race simulation. Ferrari are running this 'race' slightly differently to Alonso's yesterday, giving Raikkonen a much longer second stint than his team-mate did.
That was a short run for Kvyat in the Toro Rosso - he's back in the pits.
Massa's next hot lap is another low 1m38s, only 0.1s slower than he managed two laps ago.
Kvyat's first flying lap is a 1m36.113, and he goes fastest.
Massa backs off after posting a 1m38s, while Raikkonen stays in the 1m43s, and Magnussen and Kvyat join the action.
Toro Rosso pitboard

Toro Rosso pitboard


Toro Rosso has been using possibly the least encouraging pitboard in F1 today, as this picture shows.

It's fared a lot better today than its Renault stablemates at least, with Kvyat sixth right now.
Just Rosberg and Ericsson keeping Raikkonen company on track at the moment. The Ferrari has spent most of this stint lapping in the 1m43s.