The F1® testing routine is in full swing, with cool temperatures greeting early circuit-goers at Montmelò and the warm Mediterranean sun heating up the track as the day goes on. Despite reaching a pleasant 17°C on the track and 32°C track temp, the forecast warns of wetter conditions for tomorrow, day 4, and final day of the test session before teams and tyres return next Tuesday for another 4-day session, the last before the 2016 championship starts.
11 teams and 12 drivers were on the track, each with its own unique testing plans. Mercedes split its activity between Rosberg and Hamilton, one driving before and the other after the lunch break. Once again it was the dominators of the last two F1® seasons to drive the most laps: already with two hours remaining Rosberg and Hamilton had summed more than 100 laps, just like Williams’ driver Felipe Massa.
Teams took full advantage of the availability of the entire new P Zero F1® range, focusing on different targets to get a deeper understanding of their capabilities with the tyres and to collect plenty of data before the start of the championship.
Today saw no runs on the latest Purple ultrasoft tyre, which made its 2016 track debut yesterday and allowed Vettel’s Ferrari and Ricciardo’s Red Bull to score the two best times of the day. Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg was a step above the rest setting the quickest lap with a set of Red supersoft.
All in all, this third day of tests was smooth sailing, or rather driving. All 11 teams were on track, focusing mainly on long stints. Raikkonen made his 2016 debut behind the wheel of his Ferrari, and drivers Magnussen and Kvyat also made their appearance with their Renault e Red Bull cars respectively. At the end of the day, more than 1,117 laps were covered: slightly less than the 1185 done on Tuesday, by far the most lap intense day seen as of yet in Spain, but still a strong 5,200 kms in one day.
Tomorrow, Thursday, the fourth and last day of this first session, then a weekend to rest before F1® teams and drivers get back into the pits and onto the track to finish the job before the start of the championship.