Formula One: Palmer fastest on final day of Catalunya test, Mercedes still lead lap charts
Jolyon Palmer has finished as the fastest driver on the final day of the first mid-season test of the 2015 Formula One World Championship. Mercedes led the times with Spanish Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg yesterday, with Pascal Wehrlein leading in the W05 today until the final 15 minutes when Palmer bested him on super soft tyres.
Jolyon’s time in the Lotus E23 was over 1.7 seconds slower than the best time set yesterday by Nico Rosberg, but it was still enough to pip Pascal after a very late run. Palmer may have had the fastest time, but it was Wehrlein who continued to lead the lap count, with 137 laps to the DTM drivers’ name; 7 less than Rosberg’s tally yesterday.
Pierre Gasly had his first taste of Formula One testing yesterday with Toro Rosso. Today he followed that up with a jump into the senior car; the Red Bull RB11. His day wasn’t as smooth as he had experienced yesterday, with the Frenchman coming to a halt at the end of the pit-lane to cause 1 of 3 red flags. Nevertheless, Gasly ended the day 3rd fastest; 6 tenths down on Palmer after 75 laps of the circuit.
McLaren ended the first test yesterday at the bottom of the times with Oliver Turvey behind the wheel. Today however, Jenson Button took the Honda-powered MP4-30 to 4th fastest after 100 laps; a solid day of running for the team who have struggled so far this year. Today, despite Button being quoted to say that McLaren may not score a point all year, Honda revealed that they are targeting podiums in the middle of the season and to have caught up to Mercedes by the end of the year; ambitious, but not impossible targets.
5th fastest belonged to British driver and reigning GP3 champion Alex Lynn; who had his first day of running in the Williams after being appointed as a development driver earlier this year. Lynn was 4 hundredths slower than Button ahead of him and 6 tenths ahead of 6th placed reigning Formula 3 Euro series champion Esteban Ocon. The Frenchman was recently appointed as a Mercedes junior driver, joining Pascal Wehrlein; the pair also raced in last December’s race of champions in Barbados. Ocon completed 94 laps in the Mercedes-powered Force India.
Esteban Gutierrez got his first running in this year’s Ferrari after moving into a reserve driver role having driven in Formula One with Sauber for the last few years. Gutierrez completed 119 laps in the SF15-T and was 6 hundredths faster than Carlos Sainz in the Toro Rosso in 8th place. Propping up the times was Raffaele Marciello, who having driven the Ferrari yesterday jumped into the Sauber. The day didn’t start as the Italian had hoped after crashing at turn 3 in the first hour of running. He later made it back out on track to complete 75 laps.
Formula One teams won’t get another opportunity to conduct mid-season testing until the week after the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring. In the meantime, the team’s will head back to their factories to prepare for this year’s Monaco Grand Prix in a week’s time; with the unique Thursday practice sessions starting on the 21st of May.
Catalunya mid-season test day 2 time-sheets:
|3||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull||1’26.683||75|
|6||Esteban Ocon||Force India||1’27.520||94|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1’27.997||126|