There was bad news for defending champion Lewis Hamilton, whose Mercedes encountered difficulties that limited him to just 69 laps and cut out on the main straight at the end of the morning session. Unfortunately I couldn’t do my ultra-soft lap because we had some traffic, but overall it was a very good day and good to understand the auto in a better way.
Mercedes have covered more distance than their rivals in the six days of winter testing in Barcelona so far, and Nico Rosberg was fastest for the Silver Arrows on Tuesday.
But Hamilton then added: “I don’t want to say too much, but I do agree with the first two things you said”.
Vettel’s mark stood all day. Despite showing some flashes of speed, Ferrari are still thought to be just behind.
Brazilian Felipe Massa had the third best time for Williams ahead of Mexican Sergio Perez’s Force India and Hamilton.
Hamilton will be bidding to win his fourth championship when the new season gets under way in Australia on March 20. “I am happy with the feeling in the vehicle”. They are grippier, a step forward from the super-soft, and we will need to learn how to make them work well. “In terms of reliability, though, Mercedes seems to be very strong, irrespective of the issue they had today”.
The system was fitted to the auto of Kimi Raikkonen during pre-season testing at Barcelona, the first time such a device has publicly been seen on an F1 vehicle. The adoption and decision to implement these new safety systems comes after two high-profile tragedies in the last two years, the deaths of Jules Bianchi and Justin Wilson. The Halo was created to protect drivers from flying debris and from life-threatening accidents, the Guardian reported. “You can improve the aesthetics”, Vettel said. I think it’s a little bit chaotic if a couple of weeks before the season you start to re-invent certain rules and the formats of qualifying as has been discussed in the last couple of weeks.
“It’s not the picture you are used to seeing for F1″, he admitted. “But equally, it helps increase the safety, it helps saving lives”.
It was a carbon mock-up of the solution conceived by Mercedes and developed in conjunction with the FIA. America’s Haas suffered some issues with its Ferrari-sourced powertrain, with its driver Esteban Gutierrez missing out on some crucial testing this week.