Lotus driver Romain Grosjean finished as the fastest driver on the fourth day of the 2015 Formula One pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain. The day was overshadowed by an incident for Fernando Alonso behind the wheel of the McLaren-Honda which led the Spaniard being airlifted to Hospital. McLaren revealed later in the day that Fernando was “Uninjured and fine” after undergoing a CT scan and that he would remain in the hospital overnight for observations.
Grosjean set the fastest lap of the week with just over an hour remaining. The Frenchman’s 1’24.067 was set on the fastest compound of tyre, which enabled him to beat the previous best time of the test which was set by team-mate Pastor Maldonado. This was Grosjean’s one and only day behind the wheel of the E23 after Maldonado and third driver Jolyon Palmer drove the car on the previous three days.
It is important to note however that these times aren’t representative of outright pace, as Nico Rosberg, who finished 2nd fastest, was able to get within three tenths of a second of Grosjean’s time on the much slower medium tyre. This is an ominous message from the reigning world championship winning team who could very well have more pace up their sleeve. Rosberg was also one of the busiest on track today after being the first man to hit over 100 laps today with over an hour remaining; leading to an eventual tally of 131 laps.
Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat led a large portion of the day’s running as he prepares for his début with the team this season. He would finish the session with the 3rd fastest time after 104 laps. Sauber’s Felipe Nasr was 4th fastest and was just over a hundredth of a second slower than Kvyat after 73 laps. Sauber’s somewhat characteristic end of test ritual of stopping on track in the last hour reared its head once again, with the Brazilian coming to a halt at turn six. Valtteri Bottas finished as the 5th fastest driver and was just 2 laps shy of Rosberg’s total lap count.
Carlos Sainz was the 6th fastest driver after 88 laps. His day came to a premature end after he spun into the gravel and then hit the wall slightly at turn 3. He was sent to the medical centre for precautionary checks and was given the all-clear soon after. He was 7 tenths of a second faster than 7th placed Sebastian Vettel, who completed 76 laps in the Ferrari, and Nico Hulkenberg; who completed his first day of running this year in the 2014 Force India.
McLaren had planned on running both Alonso and Button over the course of the day after experiencing MGU-K failures on Thursday and Saturday. This was not to be the case. Alonso had completed 20 laps with a fastest lap of 1’26.956 when he crashed at the exit of turn three. Alonso was said to be “Ok and concious” when he was taken to the circuit’s medical centre by Ambulance, but was then airlifted to hospital for precautionary checks. It was later announced by Mclaren that Alonso was uninjured and that he would stay at the hospital for the night. The team elected not to run in the afternoon with Button following the incident. It is not yet known what the cause of Alonso’s crash was exactly, but Alonso’s manager has stated that wind played a crucial role as it had done with Carlos Sainz’s crash at the same turn later on in the day.
Barcelona pre-season test day 4 time-sheets: