Max Verstappen piled on the miles Tuesday as he got himself acquainted with Red Bull Racing’s RB13.
The Dutchman, who followed Daniel Ricciardo behind the wheel was luckier than the Aussie Tuesday as he was spared reliability woes, running a trouble-free 89 laps.
“We had a very positive day with not too many issues and we’ve done quite a lot of laps so we can be happy,” said ‘Maximum’ Max.
“For us it’s not about showing how quick we can be at the moment. It’s the first test week and the second day, so it’s much more important to get some mileage in and to check if all the parts are okay. We’ll focus on lap times later on.”
The 19-year-old charger gave two thumbs up to the new cars, noting their increased performance and pace.
“The speed difference compared to the cars from last year is a good step; it’s definitely more enjoyable through the faster corners.
“You also have a lot more traction going through the slow corners and that was very difficult to find a good compromise with last year.
“But with such wide tyres and such big cars that’s a lot better now. Of course it’s more demanding but that’s what we trained for in the winter so you have to be up for it.”
Given that he only drove in the afternoon, we’ll label Valtteri Bottas as Tuesday’s marathon man, with the Finn covering 102 laps around the Circuit de Catalunya.
While Lewis Hamilton’s morning work with Mercedes focused on aero data collection, soft tyre compound analysis and general setup work, the Finn completed a race simulation before rounding off the day with further aero tests.
“I think it was another good test day for the team,” said Bottas.
“We did so many laps again and completed all the runs that we had planned to do. I worked on race simulations this afternoon. It was quite tricky with the windy conditions but I’m sure that we can learn a lot from the data.”
Mercedes new recruit had a big moment at Turn Nine but fortunately remained clear of the barriers.
“I had a small off but it wasn’t anything serious. I lost the rear end with a gust of tail wind that was quite sudden. This is testing – you need to find the limits.”
Half-way through the first week’s programme, there hasn’t been a worry insight for the Silver Arrows squad which continues to dial in its potential.
“It’s interesting to learn more about the new car – not just for me personally, but for us as a team. All the set-up work we’ve done has been very valuable. Two more days to go – I’m looking forward to it.”
Lewis Hamilton was out in full force Monday afternoon, raking in the laps with the new Mercedes W08 with a veracious appetite.
While lap times were secondary, the three-time world champion edged out his closest rival, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, by 0.113 seconds.
The Brit’s assessment of both his day and his car was outright positive.
“It’s been a positive day for the team. Lots of laps and lots of information that we’ve gained today,” said Hamilton.
“There’s so much more downforce, which is something we always wanted.
“This is day one, so we’ve not done any work to get the balance perfect. Today is just really about ticking off all the lists, all the checkpoints and getting mileage for reliability.
Unsurprisingly, Hamilton said there was no denying the physicality of the 2017 cars.
“I definitely put my body to the test today. These test days are like training. It was good to feel the wider, beefier car. It’s faster, more physical… it’s a beast!
“You’ve got to drive it a bit differently. It’s so much better than last year’s cars. The G-Forces are definitely higher.
“We’re pulling two more G than we’d usually pull around here. There’s so much more downforce, which is something you always want as a driver. You always want to go faster through the corners.”
The Mercedes stalwart also took notice of the more enduring and consistent nature of Pirelli’s new compunds.
“The tyres are so hard that they don’t drop off. Most likely we’ll be doing more one-stoppers.
“Normally you get a lot of degradation with these tyres – but these ones don’t degrade. They’re very consistent, and there’s not a big difference between the feeling on the first lap and the last lap.”