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Williams bounces back – Felipe Massa tops first day of second 2017 F1 test

Williams bounces back – Felipe Massa tops first day of second 2017 F1 test
Mar 7, 2017, 5:54 PM

Felipe Massa set the fastest time as the second Formula 1 pre-season test kicked off at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya today.

Felipe Massa set the fastest time as the second Formula 1 pre-season test kicked off at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya today. But it was another day on which the strong performance of Ferrari was shown, as confidence gathers at the Italian squad ahead of the new season.

Even Lewis Hamilton dubbed them 'favourites' for the season. Was it mind games or something close to the truth? Ferrari have not given anything precise away yet.

It was a positive day for Williams after a tough week last week. The pace in the car looked good, albeit the lap time difference between the Brazilian driver’s best lap and his long run pace, suggested that the headline lap time, which he set in the final 30 minutes of running before the lunch break, a 1m19.726s on Pirelli’s super-soft tyres, was set on low fuel.

Williams had lost a significant amount of running during the first test due to Lance Stroll’s incidents in the FW40 on the second and third days of last week’s event, which forced the British team to halt those days early and miss all of the final day.

Massa also did a very respectable job on the long runs, appearing to be around 0.5s to 0.7s a lap off the Mercedes pace, which is pretty fast and puts them at the head of the midfield.

Massa’s lap was not bettered during the afternoon as most teams focused on longer running, which meant Daniel Ricciardo ended the day in second place for Red Bull.

Daniel Ricciardo Felipe Massa

Riccardo’s time of 1m19.900s was set on the ultra-soft tyres, which put him 0.174s adrift of Massa. His long run pace was a good margin slower, albeit with a relatively smaller gap than Massa, so Ricciardo was probably on around 30kg of fuel when the headline lap time was set.

Just 0.006 behind Ricciardo was his former teammate Sebastian Vettel, who was one of the few drivers to improve their best times in the after the lunch break.

Vettel set his time on the soft compound rubber and he completed 168 laps for Ferrari, the same as Massa, which was therefore the joint-highest total of the day. Ferrari were very canny again, not doing a proper full race simulation, which allows the opposition to calculate their pace and fuel loads. They are keeping everyone guessing whether their long runs are at 105kg of fuel, the maximum, or the standard long run 80kg. Their short and medium runs look quick, so there's no question they are close to Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton completed 49 laps for Mercedes during the morning session as a damaged floor limited his running, and his best time was the fourth quickest of the day. Valtteri Bottas racked up 86 laps in the afternoon, and he finished the day in fifth place, 0.468s slower than team-mate’s best effort of 1m20.456s. Both Mercedes drivers set their fastest times on the soft compound.

Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon was sixth for Force India, ahead of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Haas F1’s Kevin Magnussen. Hulkenberg clocked up 58 laps during his half day in the RS17 after an engine issue in the morning restricted his teammate Jolyon Palmer to 15 laps and the day’s slowest time.

After Toro Rosso completed the fewest laps during last week’s first test due to power unit and mechanical troubles with the STR12, Daniil Kvyat managed 83 tours during today’s running. The Russian driver ended up with the ninth fastest time, which he set on the softs.

Another team hoping for a stronger showing in the second test was McLaren, which endured a torrid time with its Honda power unit last week. Stoffel Vandoorne returned to the cockpit of the MCL32 today and managed 80 laps and tenth place, but he did lose time when the team was forced to change another engine towards the end of the morning session. Their long run pace suggests that they could be as much as two seconds off the pace of the strongest midfield teams, where they had hoped to race this year.

Marcus Ericsson

New Sauber recruit Pascal Wehrlein made his first appearance of winter testing in 2017 after a back injury he sustained in crash during the Race of Champions event in January forced the team to run Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi during the two days Marcus Ericsson was not in the car at the first test.

Wehrlein completed 47 laps at the wheel of the C36, which he handed over to Ericsson for the afternoon session, and the pair finished the day with the 11th and 12th fastest times.

Barcelona test two, day one, results:

1 Felipe Massa Williams 1m19.726s, 168 laps (super-soft)

2 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m19.900s +0.174s, 89 laps (ultra-soft)

3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m19.906s +0.180s, 168 laps (soft)

4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m20.456s +0.730s, 49 laps (soft)

5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m20.924s +1.198s, 86 laps (soft)

6 Esteban Ocon Force India 1m21.347s +1.621s, 142 laps (super-soft)

7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m21.589s +1.863s, 58 laps (soft)

8 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m21.676s +1.950s, 81 laps (soft)

9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m21.743s +2.017s, 83 laps (soft)

10 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1m22.537s +2.811s, 80 laps (soft)

11 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 1m23.336s +3.610s, 47 laps (soft)

12 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1m23.630s +3.904s, 53 laps (soft)

13 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m24.790s +5.064s, 15 laps (soft)

What do you make of the times from the first day of the second 2017 pre-season test? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JA on F1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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