Kevin Magnussen scored the fast lap time of the day during his first day behind the wheels of the MP4-29.
Following Tuesday’s non-running, the decision was taken yesterday to extend Jenson’s seat-time into Thursday morning, effectively equally splitting each driver’s time with the car.
After lunch, Kevin took over for his first run in the car.
The team had devised a programme that gave him maximum time in the cockpit. This meant focusing on a series of longer runs – in order to best familiarise him with the car and its systems.
Additionally, he conducted some shorter runs at the end of the day, punctuating them with a series of practice starts in the pitlane, and some practice pitstops.
Kevin Magnussen: “This was a big day for me. I had butterflies in my stomach and had trouble sleeping last night – I’m a rookie, and I was just excited to get in the car. Equally, however, this doesn’t feel like my first day at work: I know everybody at McLaren, so I really felt at home.
“Happily, everything worked as it should, and the car felt good. I’m pretty pleased with our reliability – to have done as many laps as I did in just half a day was pretty positive.
“I’m not taking too much from the fact that I set the fastest time – I was pushing, but it wasn’t a balls-to-the-wall lap. We wanted to get good data and learn about the car, so I think everyone is pushing out there.
“Even so, I still think we can improve the car this week. And the most important thing is to understand how to improve things when we go away from here. I think we have a good idea of the direction to take.”
While Kevin satisfyingly ended the day fastest overall, more pleasing was the fact that the car – in the hands of both drivers – completed a total of 92 laps, more than any other team, thus underlining the team’s pre-season aim to focus on reliability over performance during these crucial winter test sessions.
Jerez testing times – Thursday January 30
1 Kevin Magnussen McLaren Mercedes - 1m 23.276s / 52 laps
2 Felipe Massa Williams - 1m 23.700s / 47 laps
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG - 1m 23.952s / 62 laps
4 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes - 1m 25.030s / 40 laps
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari - 1m 25.495s / 58 laps
6 Nico Hulkenberg Force India - 1m 26.096s / 17 laps
7 Jean Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso - 1m 29.915s / 30 laps
8 Adrian Sutil Sauber - 1m 30.161s / 24 laps
9 Robin Frijns Caterham - 10 laps
10 Max Chilton Marussia - 5 laps
11 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing - 3 laps