IT'S A DOGS LIFE: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton uses a legway to walk his dogs at the paddock of the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo. The Briton said he was bored after notching up 63 laps during testing. Image: AFP/ Lluis Gene
Barcelona, Spain - While Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen posted the fastest time so far in Formula 1 testing, using the new ultra-soft tyre on Thursday (March 3), world champion Lewis Hamilton spoke of his boredom accumulating laps.
Raikkonen raced around the Catalunya track on the fastest compound tyres in F1 nearly half a second quicker than Williams driver Felipe Massa, who also ran on ultra-softs but only very briefly. Nico Hulkenberg and 18-year-old Dutch driver Max Verstappen were third and fourth, respectively.
Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg practiced race simulations on slower tires rather than going for speed, which was not much to Hamilton's liking.
"Boring going around and around"
Hamilton said: "I don't want to do this long running, it's boring going around and around and around, that's why I can't wait for the races."
Medium tyres favour reliability over speed, meaning Hamilton and Rosberg were not challenging the leading times as they logged 144 laps between them.
"I've done loads of mileage in races more, so I'm super ready," Hamilton said, looking ahead to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in 17 days.
Rosberg was fifth fastest and Hamilton 11th, but he hopes to get a chance to try out the ultra-soft tires on Friday and get a clearer indication of the car's potential speed.
Hamilton said: "We've not really pushed it to the limit so far in terms of putting the car on a knife-edge, hopefully tomorrow morning we'll get a bit of that."
Rosberg did 81 laps in the morning, comfortably the most of any driver, as he focused on fine-tuning different aspects. Hamilton took over after lunch and took things a bit steadier, completing 63 laps.
Rosberg said: "I kept everything the same all morning, fuel level, tires, so I could just change the car to get a really good feeling," Rosberg said. "Every time I was going out with a different set-up just to try and learn about the new car, and with the conditions great as well, it was a really valuable experience."
Turbo issues for Haas
It was another tough day for Haas, the first American-led team in F1 since 1986. the day after Mexican driver Esteban Gutierrez spent the whole day in the team garage because of a turbocharger issue.
All was going well for French driver Romain Grosjean until right at the end of the morning session, when he slid off a turn.
Grosjean said: "I locked the front wheel and went straight, luckily we stopped before the wall, the (engine) maps were not 100% perfect and I was struggling a bit with the car."
Grosjean spun into the gravel early in the afternoon, and the session was stopped again. He managed to get back out for the closing stages, and totaled 78 laps before coming off the track a third time.
Verstappen posted the day's highest tally with 159 laps, the day after teammate Carlos Sainz topped the charts with 166, underlining Toro Rosso's outstanding reliability.