Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Force India lead Haas on day three

2016 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

It was all change at the top of the timing sheets on the third day of testing as Force India led F1 newcomers Haas at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Nico Hulkenberg led proceedings for much of the day, initially setting the pace on medium compound tyres before working through the soft and super-soft compounds. He ended up quickest on a 1’23.110, 0.3 seconds off the benchmark time set by Sebastian Vettel yesterday using ultra-soft tyres.

Romain Grosjean, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016
A strong day for Haas: Grosjean was second. More pictures
With 20 minutes left to run in the session Romain Grosjean gave the clearest indication so far of the pace of the Haas VF-16. Using soft tyres he moved up to second-fastest. The car continued to use reinforced front wing pylons following the failure Grosjean experienced on Monday.

For the first time in this test Ferrari did not end the day with the fastest time. Kimi Raikkonen ended his first day in the SF16-H third-fastest having sat out almost all of the morning’s running while the team checked a fuel system problem.

Renault had a more productive day with Kevin Magnussen logging 100 laps, though his car came to a stop shortly afterwards. It wasn’t seen again, and nor was Jenson Button’s McLaren after it began to smoke at the pit lane exit.

Mercedes opted to divide the day’s running between its two drivers due to the high mileages it achieved on the opening day. Today was not quite as busy for the team as yesterday, but between them Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg amassed another 161 laps.

That equalled the tally of Carlos Sainz Jnr who had a busy day in the Toro Rosso STR11 despite suffering a breakdown at the pit exit early in the session.

Rio Haryanto made his debut for Manor but brought the red flags out when he spun into the gravel at turn five.

Today’s fastest times

Pos. Car number Driver Team Model Best time Gap Laps Tyres
1 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India VJM09 1’23.110 99 Super-soft
2 8 Romain Grosjean Haas VF-16 1’25.874 2.764 82 Soft
3 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari SF16-H 1’25.977 2.867 77 Medium
4 20 Kevin Magnussen Renault RS16 1’26.014 2.904 111 Soft
5 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes W07 1’26.084 2.974 74 Medium
6 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso STR11 1’26.239 3.129 161 Medium
7 12 Felipe Nasr Sauber C34 1’26.392 3.282 115 Soft
8 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W07 1’26.421 3.311 87 Medium
9 26 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull RB12 1’26.497 3.387 74 Medium
10 19 Felipe Massa Williams FW38 1’26.712 3.602 109 Medium
11 22 Jenson Button McLaren MP4-31 1’26.919 3.809 51 Medium
12 88 Rio Haryanto Manor MRT05 1’28.249 5.139 77 Medium

Teams’ fastest times – full test

Position Team Model Time
1 Ferrari SF16-H 1’22.810
2 Force India VJM09 1’23.110
3 Red Bull RB12 1’23.525
4 Mercedes W07 1’24.867
5 Haas VF-16 1’25.524
6 Williams FW38 1’25.648
7 Manor MRT05 1’25.925
8 Renault RS16 1’26.014
9 McLaren MP4-31 1’26.082
10 Toro Rosso STR11 1’26.239

2016 and 2015 lap times context

How each team’s best time so far compares to their pre-season testing times at the Circuit de Catalunya last year and their fastest lap during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend. A negative difference is quicker, positive is slower.

NB. Sauber is using its 2015 car.

2016 F1 season

Browse all 2016 F1 season articles

35 comments on “Force India lead Haas on day three”

  1. Deja-vu for McLaren?

    1. One can only imagine the impending doom that awaits Fernando Alonso. If it truly is a case of Deja-Vu, it’s beyond sad.

    2. It was only a hydraulic leak, fairly common occurrence for all teams.

    3. Mario Galarza
      25th February 2016, 1:21

      Indeed.. But if you have been following you know that what they have is not the final PU. They’ve only been testing reliability, and so far it has been great. Look, they have fired who apparently has give them lots of problems. Sometimes takes firing the obvious cost of all problems to notch a team to the right direction CAP.. Luca Montezemolo.

    4. If you ask me it’s worst than last year. Not only have they been at the bottom of the lap charts when it comes to timing, but the only thing they were positive about was reliability, only for the car to go up in smoke again.

      Manor has definitely made a step forward, and Haas has impressed on it’s debut. They both are running far superior PU’s in the back of their respective cars. Manor has got some big signings on the Technical and engineering side as well. Not to mention 2 quick drivers in Wehrlein and Grosjean.

      Mclaren were the team expected to make the largest gains this season, but by the looks of it, Manor are the team with the largest gains. This could be the season where Mclaren finish dead last in the championship.

  2. I love the way Mercedes is going about their business- not interested in chasing fastest times. However, you get the sense the other teams know a beat down is imminent!

  3. Before anyone gets too excited about Haas’ pace: it’s 2.7s slower than a Force India, and it’s 0.4s slower than their time yesterday. Every single team except Force India were sandbagging today. Haas saw an opportunity to create a nice headline, so in the final 15 minutes they sent out Grosjean on soft tyres to put in a reasonable lap -> P2.

    1. Were those tyres the soft, super soft, or ultra soft ?

      1. Nico was on Super Soft and Gros was on Soft (to make clear the fastest time of Vettel was on the Ultra Soft)

    2. Personally I doubt any team has enough testing time to waste it sandbagging. Also not sure why going out on softs late in the session has to mean headline grabbing. That might simply have been their plan having accomplished what they wanted to earlier in the session.

  4. Here’s hoping Haas don’t discover they’ve got their suspension fitted upside down

  5. Force India looks strong!

    Haas time is interesting tho, as it was achieved in a 12 laps run with soft.
    So not a low fuel run!

  6. Haryanto spun… Do we have a list of first apearance failures?

    1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      24th February 2016, 18:47

      @spoutnik I sense an F1 Fanatic “top ten” coming…

        1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          25th February 2016, 11:47

          @keithcollantine Karun Chandhok’s first corner as Caterham reserve driver must also be up there!

        2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          25th February 2016, 11:55

          …and then there’s KK’s debuts for Caterham and Ferrari

    2. Well I remember Hamilton crashing out pretty hard in one of his first test appearances for McLaren

    3. Failed, spun…. but faster that his teammate …. who cares :D

      1. @gunusugeh Yeah, Maldonado also was ‘faster’ than his teammate … Testing isn’t a speed contest, and if it ends in the gravel trap it’s useless. But we’ll see how he performs this year.

        1. @spoutnik then why do people cares about spinning driver? Kimi spun, Lewis spun …… Im not comparing him with them or anybody…. It just funny how peoples react to a ‘stranger’ :v

  7. The Renault was indeed seen again, and Magnussen did a further 8 laps just before the checkered flag came out.

  8. Force India built one hell of a car it would seem.

  9. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    24th February 2016, 18:49

    Am I allowed to be excited as a Nico Hulkenberg fan yet? That VJM09 has just set the best laps on soft and super-soft of the test so far…

    1. I think that, as long as Hulk is not on a top team, you couldn’t ask for better signs at a first test… so yes, be as excited as you would like! ;)

    2. Continuing from yesterday’s discussion, now I am certainly more impressed by FI times set by Hulk and Perez.

      Is there any changes on their car apart from 2016 Merc PU because it looks same to me as their 2015 Spec B car.

      1. The nose is the same but the rear suspension, floor is new. Engine covers are tighter than last year.
        Ted mentioned it in his Notebook.

    3. Well Hulk said not to get too carried away with the car pace, still a long way to go.

    4. @william-brierty It’s only testing…….

  10. I know testing times don’t mean a great deal, but those laps Hulk did looked good. Expect Merc/Ferrari will come along and smash them out of the park, but still…

  11. Guybrush Threepwood
    24th February 2016, 19:38

    Can we please get the tyre used to set each fastest time in the results table?

  12. Four proper noses in the top 5! A bad day for ugly cars.

  13. I know it’s testing, I know we don’t know the test programs, the fuel loads and then there is the tyres… But nevertheless, seeing Haas set the 2nd fastest time of the day in any session is impressive, after my only experience of “new” teams in F1 being the five years of the newcomers always being stone-dead last in pretty much each and every competitive and non-competitive session.

  14. missing sauber from the full test time chart @keithcollantine

    1. I think it’s because Sauber are still using their 2015 car.

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