- Bahrain Test - Day 1
Rosberg tops first day
Nico Rosberg set the pace on the first day of in-season testing in Bahrain as Mercedes continues to go from strength to strength this season.
All 11 teams are staying on in Sakhir for the two day test that will continue on Wednesday. Rosberg's best time of 1:35.697 topped the timesheets by 0.367s from Force India's Nico Hulkenberg as both teams continued their fine form from Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix. Rosberg completed over two race distances in the Mercedes with 121 laps, the most of any driver on Tuesday.
Most of the drivers were shy of their Saturday qualifying efforts, but the hotter track conditions will partly account for the drop off in times. Rosberg's best effort on Tuesday would have been quick enough for the third fastest time in Saturday's final practice session, which also took place in the heat of the day.
Fernando Alonso was third fastest on Tuesday, 0.929s off the pace of Rosberg, as Ferrari concentrated on fine tuning various electronic configurations and taking aerodynamic measurements with constant speed runs down the main straight in the morning. In the afternoon, work was carried out in short runs, lapping to evaluate different set-up choices. Kevin Magnussen was just 0.008s shy of the Ferrari's pace in fourth despite an issue with the McLaren just before lunch.
Valtteri Bottas was fifth fastest in the Williams but completed just 28 laps after the team ended its session with more than an hour left on the clock. Max Chilton was the only driver to better his qualifying effort in Bahrain as he clocked a 1:37.678 in the final hour to put Marussia sixth fastest. Daniel Ricciardo was seventh after 91 laps at the wheel of the Red Bull. Sergey Sirotkin made his debut at an official test and completed 75 laps in total, setting a time 3.036s off Rosberg's best effort.
Robin Frijns was ninth fastest as Caterham became the first team to dedicate a day of in-season testing to working with Pirelli on its tyres. Pirelli's main focus this week is on next year's tyres and the challenge set out in the 2015 regulations of running without tyre warmers. Williams and Mercedes will take over the role of tyre testing on Wednesday.
Pastor Maldonado completed just 16 laps due to a problem with his Lotus' power unit during the day. The issue was a set back after the team made steps forward with reliability at the last two races. "Unfortunately we weren't able to carry out the programme we had set out to do today as two power unit related failures stopped us far short of what we wanted to achieve," head of trackside operations Alan Permane said. "Of course, this is frustrating for everyone involved, but our focus is now very much on getting the most we can out of tomorrow."
Daniil Kvyat was the slowest of the 11 drivers on Tuesday but completed a total of 67 laps in his Toro Rosso. "Even if you can't see it from looking at the timing screen, this was a productive day during which we learned a lot," he said. "It was very useful for me, giving me a lot of laps away from the race weekend environment. We also learned something about why our pace was not as strong as we had expected in Sunday's race. I think this in-season testing is a very useful thing, not just for the teams, but also for guys like me who have to catch up in terms of experience."
Bahrain Test - Day 1
1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:35.897 121 laps 2. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:36.064 69 laps 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:36.626 68 laps 4. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:36.634 102 laps 5. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:37.305 28 laps 6. Max Chilton Marussia 1:37.678 60 laps 7. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:38.326 91 laps 8. Sergey Sirotkin Sauber 1:39.023 76 laps 9. Robin Frijns Caterham 1:40.027 63 laps 10. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:40.183 16 laps 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:40.452 67 laps