Hello and welcome to the third day of this week's test in Barcelona.
It's a bit warmer than the last few mornings - a balmy 6C. Nate didn't even have to scrape any ice off his car with his credit card this morning.
A slight change to the planned line-up this morning (it's been a common theme this week). Bottas and Massa will share today's test in the Williams before Bottas gets a full day tomorrow. Susie Wolff was in the car on Thursday so that's why Williams is splitting, but originally it was going to be all Bottas today.
Ricciardo was fastest yesterday with a pretty quick lap. It was faster than any of the laps we saw at this track yesterday either at the race or in the post-season test. Red Bull also managed 143 laps, which is massive compared to their previous efforts this pre-season.
Vettel, Hamilton and Verstappen are the first guys out on track. Vettel back in the Ferrari for the first time this week.
Vettel has binned in straight in the gravel! Less than a minute into the session.
Vettel goes straight into the gravel at Turn 4 - a very unusual start to the morning!
The car is not in the barriers so it will probably be an easy recovery. It's possible something went wrong on the car, or perhaps Vettel just got caught out while adjusting something in the car.
It's a bit grey and cloudy today, and although there are a few spits of rain we wouldn't expect that to result in Vettel going off
@McLaren_Senna: McLaren should have the fix for it's MGU-K problem this morning. However, racing director Eric Boullier admitted yesterday that the team had done just 50% of the laps it had hoped for at this stage last year. Here's what Honda boss Yasuhisa Arai had to say about the remaining six days of testing:
"We still haven’t seen the unit running at its maximum potential, but I think we’re progressing steadily. We’re getting closer and closer to Melbourne, where I think we’ll be in better shape.
“For the final two days of this Barcelona test, we’ll be aiming to push things a little bit further in order to get a more accurate reflection of the package’s behaviour and performance in race conditions.”
Just to put the pressure on the boys down at McLaren, three weeks today is qualifying day in Australia
@ralva8: That's their plan. Considering the problem they had yesterday, Alonso's 59 laps yesterday wasn't too bad.
@Senthil: We're not sure, he went straight on at his outlap, it could be any number of issues with the car. But I'm 100% sure it wasn't Raikkonen's fault
@Fritz: Vettel's biggest problem was the loss of rear downforce when the blown diffuser was banned. That, along with the loss of the lower beam wing, gave the new cars a very different feel to the ones Vettel won four titles with. Kimi also had a shocking year last year - more so, I would say - so it should be a very interesting battle to see which one comes out on top
Quick update from the track - everyone except Ericsson has completed at least one installation lap. Other than that it's all a bit quiet out there.
@Steven: Don't be fooled by the times. I'm 99% sure that Mercedes has been running very fat with fuel so far. The power unit will still have a power advantage over Ferrari and Renault (Honda is an unknown) so that is already a good starting point and the chassis was very strong too at the end of last year. It's normal for other teams to catch up, but surely a more competitive field is good for the sport. You can't deny that Mercedes winning every race in normal circumstances was a bit dull.
Hamilton goes top with a 1:30.544 but as ever that time is likely to tumble down as the day goes on.
@pavan: He's fine, it wasn't a big crash - he didn't even touch the barrier. We're still waiting for the car to come back out on track though - there will be a lot of gravel in places where there shouldn't be gravel.
@SanthoshManchikatla: No, that is completely untrue. It's the 2015 engine and has been since the start of testing in Jerez.
@AlainMichel: Those are two factors that could account for it. I believe Perez set the time on softs and it was medium and hards at the race last year. Also, the development of the cars over the course of the year really shows. The Force India in Spain was a lot slower than the one that we have here now because of the updates brought to the car and the teams understanding of set-up etc.
@Steven: 1. I don't think we will see any one team dominate in the way Mercedes did. I think Mercedes will start the year on top, but the others should be closer (all guesswork of course). 2. Red Bull probably had the best aero package last year and there is no reason to think that has changed over the winter. The car is very tightly packed and has minimal cooling (which Renault should also take some of the credit for. 3. Chassis tend to be built around aerodynamics and the power unit, so I'm not sure exactly what you mean as they are not comparable without taking into account the other elements. If you mean the overall package - Power unit, chassis (e.g stiffness, weight etc) and aero, I would say Mercedes, but again it's guesswork.
@Yo: Force India will have its 2015 car up and running next week and at the first race in Australia.
Hamilton has knocked his time down to a 1:26.142 on medium tyres. Verstappen is the next fastest on a 1:31.253, but neither of those times are representative of the cars' true potential.
Just watched a pit stop practice at Red Bull. Marked difference from yesterday, when Ricciardo swung in confidently and, aside from the odd occasion in a 21-lap period, got away cleanly. I've watched Kvyat twice ease in slowly and on the second occasion he didn't get away at all. Red Bull has just wheeled him back into the garage.
@Fritz: It's very rare that any of the power units run over about 11,000rpm due to frictional losses, so that's not a good measure. Running at a lower settings means anything from turbo boost pressure to how much power the MGU-K and MGU-H are recovering and powering the car. Sure, McLaren probably haven't hit qualifying rpm yet, but it's a little more complicated than that.
So in case you were wondering, that's the view from Nate's office this morning. Not bad, eh?
Massa has the Williams up and running. He now has the second fastest time with a 1:27.544.