The first day of the 2014 Abu Dhabi test ended with Valtteri Bottas on top of the time sheets with a time of 1:43.396.
The headline act for the day was McLaren who were debuting their MP4-29H/1X1 with the Honda power unit. However, due to electrical issues and a fuel/data exchange issue the Woking based team was delayed for most of the morning. Reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne did have some track time for a mere three laps where he broke down on all three laps. The second of which resulted in a red flag as his car had to be recovered.
“We’d hoped to get a few more laps today, but we had a fuel data-logging issue that stopped the car a couple of times,” Vandoorne explained.
“However, the team are already analysing the situation and we’ll hopefully cure it ahead of tomorrow”
Although McLaren suffered a setback today, Vandoorne remained upbeat for the second and final day of the test.
Nevertheless, it’s been a very positive day for us. At this stage of development, any lap we complete has a benefit – and it’s better to be solving these initial teething problems in November rather than in Jerez next February,” he explained.
GP2 Champion Jolyon Palmer in his first outing in an F1 car for Force India was very excited about his experience. After some problems in the morning they were able to get going and the rookie clocked up 37 laps for the day and managed to finish in P4.
“I really enjoyed my first experience at the wheel of a Formula One car,” said Palmer.
“I always had the ambition to drive a Formula One car: it was surreal when I first got out of the pits, but after the first moment I was just focusing on getting the job done for the team and doing my best.”
Nico Rosberg, on the back of loosing the championship to Lewis Hamilton clocked up a mighty 114 laps for Mercedes, the most of any driver on the day. He finished in P3 with a time of 1:44.512
Kimi Riakkonen finished P2 for Ferrari, with a little under half a second down on Bottas’s time. The highlight of the day for Ferrari was their new singing, four-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel paying the team a visit in the Ferari pit garage and getting to know the crew.
Red Bull had Formula Renault 3.5 Champion Carlos Sainz Jr at the wheel of the RB10. He clocked up an impressive 100 laps for the team and set the fifth fastest time.
Will Stevens was at the wheel for Caterham today. Fresh after his F1 debut at the race on Sunday he was given another go in the Caterham. He finished in P6 with a lap time of 1:45.436 and posted 102 laps.
Charles Pic ended the day in P7 with 89 laps under his belt for Lotus. Former Caterham driver, Marcus Ericsson drove for Sauber and finished behind Charles Pic in P8.
Max Verstappen had a suspension issue which ended his session in the morning. He ended up in the barriers because of this on only his third lap of the session. The team managed to get the car repaired for the afternoon session and he was back out on track
Below is the unofficial running order of the day