Nico Hulkenberg got Force India off to a flying start at the first day of the second pre-season Formula One test of 2014 by setting fastest time at the Sakhir International Circuit in Bahrain.
Just as in Jerez things got off to a slow start, but it was Mercedes who set the lap benchmark early doors with Lewis Hamilton climbing toward seventy four laps in the F1W05 at the conclusion – his main rival where lap total was concerned seemed to be McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen once again as the Dane sat at the head of the timesheets over the lunch break, completing eighty one laps by days end. However, both were trumped by Hulkenberg in the afternoon, the German making up for his lack of running in Jerez with a time well under the fastest set in last year’s Grand Prix at Sakhir.
It was a less successful day for Red Bull and Toro Rosso, the World Champions not making any meaningful headway with Sebastian Vettel behind the wheel and the Italian minnows facing their first breakdown of the day a mere five minutes after making their first appearance – Daniil Kvyat was forced to walk back to the pits when an oil leak sabotaged his STR9. Fernando Alonso experienced a scare in the morning when his Ferrari left the pitlane in a cloud of smoke before stopping on track, though he got moving under his own power to enable the F14T to be examined in the safety of his pit garage. Vettel was unable to do the same when his RB10 cried enough after fourteen laps, the German left with yet more questions than answers as the Milton Keynes-based outfit struggled to get a grip on their Renault powerplant problems.
Likewise it was a challenging day for Williams who were denied the chance to run Felipe Massa for any length of time as engine issues plagued them, while Marussia couldn’t give Jules Bianchi a real chance to run as IT problems kept them in the garage.
DAY ONE – TIMES – Bahrain Testing 19th Feb 2014