Hamilton quickest as Ferrari forced to quit early

Mercedes drivers finishes over a second ahead of rivals as chassis damage forces Ferrari to call a halt to running.

Lewis Hamilton went quickest by over a second on the final day of the first in-season test of the year as Ferrari were forced to call an early test to their final day after discovering chassis damage on the F14 T being driven by Fernando Alonso.

The Spaniard was running the chassis raced by Kimi Raikkonen in last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix and after just 12 laps the team discovered damage to the chassis that forced them them to cease running. The damage was traced back to the Finn’s FP1 accident during the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend when he hit a kerb at Turn Four.

A Ferrari spokesman said that the team had rapired “the local damage during the weekend, but it has now become clear that there was also some consequential damage, unseen over the remainder of the weekend. This damage became only apparent this morning, and we stopped running on a precautionary basis in order to fix the chassis."

Mercedes spent the day tyre testing for Pirelli and Hamilton’s best time came in the morning session when he posted a lap of 1:36.164. That was good enough to stand for the rest of the day, with Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne second with a lap of 1:35.557, posted late in the afternoon. The Frenchman got through 63 laps of the Sakhir circuit. Hamilton, meanwhile, managed a total of 120 laps.

Kevin Magnussen was third fastest for McLaren, despite managing just 26 laps all day. A car problem pitched him into the gravel traps shortly before lunch and the team spent much of the afternoon repairing damage to the chassis.

Bahrain GP podium-finisher Sergio Perez was fourth for Force India with a time of 1:36.586 from his 64 laps.

Red Bull Racing, meanwhile, also encountered problems, with the team’s morning programme disrupted by an electrical issue. In the afternoon Daniel Ricciardo focused on aero mapping work and posted 67 laps for a fifth-fastest time of 1:37.310, though the Australian said the team had not been concerned with performance runs.

“There were no real performance runs, just pure testing,” said Ricciardo. “At the end of the day we got a few medium-length runs in and a few balance changes, like we did yesterday. So, not really a day for the timesheets but one for the people at the factory and the guys behind the laptops.”

Jules Bianchi was sixth fastest, with the French driver also putting in 93 laps for Marussia. Giedo van der Garde took over from teenager Sergey Sirotkin at the wheel of the Sauber C33 and the Dutchman’s best time of 1:37.623 was good enough for seventh spot.

There were problems for the other Renault-powered teams. Caterham got through a productive morning and continued to make progress in the afternoon, but after 66 laps Marcus Ericsson stopped on track at Turn Eight, sidelined by an ERS issue.

Romain Grosjean, though, could only manage 17 laps, Lotus again suffering with power unit issues. A grim Grosjean later said that the issues were “just not acceptable”.

Finally, Williams test driver Felipe Nasr finished in tenth position as the team devoted its final day to tyre testing for Pirelli.

Bahrain Test – Day Two Times
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.136s 120
2. Jean-Eric Vergne   Toro Rosso 1:35.557s +1.421s 64
3. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:36.203s +2.067s 26
4. Sergio Perez  Force India 1:36.586s +2.450s 63
5. Daniel Ricciardo   Red Bull Racing 1:37.310s +3.174s 67
6. Jules Bianchi  Marussia 1:37.316s +3.180s 93
7. Giedo van der Garde Sauber 1:37.623s +3.487s 77
8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:37.912s +3.776s 12
9. Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:39.263s +5.127s 66
10. Felipe Nasr   Williams 1:39.879s +5.743s 64
11. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:43.732s +9.596s 17