- Jerez Test, Day Four
Massa top as Mercedes impresses again
Felipe Massa topped the times on the final day of testing at Jerez, setting a 1:28.229 on a drying but cold track in the afternoon after Mercedes led the way on lap count thanks to a race simulation in the morning.
Rain greeted the teams at Jerez for the final day, with the track never fully drying out under an overcast sky. Fernando Alonso was second fastest with an impressive 115 laps in the Ferrari, but it was Mercedes that finished the test in strongest shape with Nico Rosberg completing 91 laps and a race sim in the morning before handing over to Lewis Hamilton to complete another 41 laps in the afternoon in relatively dry conditions.
The show of strength will rub salt into the wounds of rivals Red Bull, who completed just seven laps before packing up early to beat the traffic back to Milton Keynes. The RB10 still had visible cooling issues, with paint bubbling on the bodywork and makeshift cooling solutions being hacked into Adrian Newey's tightly-packaged design. But a short-term fix was of little use to the team and it opted to call the test quits after just 21 laps in four days.
Kevin Magnussen completed 110 laps in the McLaren MP4-29 to add to the 52 he managed on Thursday. He appeared to be happy to leave the rear of the car hanging wide, but was finally caught out in the final ten minutes of the session when he spun and wiped the nose of the MP4-29 off against the tyre wall. At the same moment Daniil Kvyat's Toro Rosso stopped on track as he attempted to venture out for a final run after just nine laps in total and the process of clearing both cars brought an early end to the day.
Force India reserve driver Daniel Juncadella put on an impressive show of pace in the VJM07, hustling the car through the tricky final sector with some confidence towards the end of the day. His best effort was a 1:30.176, but what will have pleased his team most is that the car completed 81 laps by the end of the day.
On its second day Marussia managed another 25 laps, which will be seen as something of a success for the team after its delayed start to the test. Jules Bianchi was at the wheel but only got within 3.997 s of the fastest time by the end of the day. Adrian Sutil was even slower in the Sauber as he continued to struggle to deliver the power of the Sauber's Ferrari engine to the circuit. After his accident on Thursday, he spun again under traction exiting the chicane but didn't damage the car. Nevertheless, his best lap was over eight seconds off the pace of Massa by the end of the day.
Kamui Kobayashi completed the most laps in a single day of any of the Renault Sport-powered cars this week, with 54 in total. Although they were mainly in the damp conditions of the morning and well off the pace, the quantity will offer vital information not only for Caterham but also for Renault Sport, which completed just 151 laps between its three cars over the entire week.
Times at close:
Felipe Massa Williams 1m28.229s 86 laps Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m29.145s 115 laps Daniel Juncadella Force India 1m29.457s 81 laps Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1m30.806s 110 laps Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m30.822s 41 laps Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m32.222s 25 laps Adrian Sutil Sauber 1m36.571s 69 laps Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m36.951s 91 laps Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1m43.193s 54 laps Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m44.016s 9 laps Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m45.374s 7 laps