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Wehrlein Tops The Time Sheets on Day 1 of Rain Hit Austria In-Season Test

Mercedes reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein ended on top of the time sheets after the first day of the final in-season test at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.

The young German set a best time of 1:11.005, 0.187s clear of Force India’s Esteban Ocon who’s best time was 1:11.192.

The session got off to a very wet start on Tuesday morning with just Ferrari Academy driver Antonio Fuoco and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne heading out for installation laps on full wets. The track remained quiet for the rest of the morning. The session was red-flagged 30mins in due to the heavy rains that showed no sign of letting up.

There was much deliberation between the teams to cancel running for the day and extend the test for an extra day to Thursday. It was eventually decided, as the rain started to ease up, that Monday’s running should be extended by 2 hours.

Cars started firing up and heading out after the lunch break. First on full wets and then on intermediates as the track quickly dried up. Not long after that it was time for dry weather tyres and we were able to see more cars on the track.

Finishing 3rd fastest for the day was Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen. He set a best time of 1:11.328 clocking up 97 laps, the most from all the drivers on the day.

Ferrari Academy driver Antonio Fuoco’s fastest time was 1:11.331 which was 0.326s off Wehrlein’s pace. He’s lap time steadily climbed all afternoon but a slight mistake into Turn 1 saw him spin off the track and hit the wall damaging the front end of the SF15-T. “I am very angry with myself for making a mistake today,” commented Fuoco. “But getting behind the wheel of a Ferrari has always been my dream and today it finally came true. All the same, I am pleased with the work I was able to do, gathering useful data for the team, even if the rain affected our programme today.”

GP2 driver Stoffel Vandoorne ended his day for McLaren 8th fastest 1.525s off the pace with a fastest time of 1:12.530 and managed to rack up 76 laps for the dayLotus’ Romain Grosjean ended his day 5th fastest ahead of Red Bull’s Peirre Gasly. Another Ferrari Academy driver Raffaele Marciello was in the driving seat at Sauber. He racked up 53 laps for the Swiss based team with his fastest time of the day of 1:11.826.

Williams test driver Susie Wolff was 9th fastest for Williams with a best time for her of 1:13.248. Wolff says that her runs in the dry were mainly for aerodynamic evaluations and preparation work for Silverstone. The Williams did emerge from the pits with interesting looking winglets ahead of the rear wheels which, if deemed legal, could provide the team with a really big advantage come Silverstone.

Force India were trailing parts for their B-spec car which they hope to run in Silverstone. Deputy Team Principal Robert Fernley says that the team hopes to have two complete B-spec cars ready for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. At the moment, he says they are on track to meet their deadline.

Wednesday’s driver line up:

Mercedes Nico Rosberg
Ferrari Esteban Gutierrez
Williams Valtteri Bottas
Red Bull  Daniel Ricciardo
Force India Pascal Wehrlein
Lotus Jolyon Palmer
Sauber Felipe Nasr
Toro Rosso  Marco Wittmann
McLaren Fernando Alonso

 

Below is the unofficial timing sheet for Day 1 of the Austrian in-season test.

Pos
Driver
Team
Laps
Time
Gap
1
Pascal Wehrlein
Mercedes
67
1:11.005

2
Esteban Ocon
Force India
76
1:11.192
+0.178
3
Max Verstappen
Toro Rosso
97
1:11.328
+0.323
4
Antonio Fuoco
Ferrari
71
1:11.331
+0.326
5
Romain Grosjean
Lotus
45
1:11.509
+0.504
6
Pierre Gasly
Red Bull
80
1:11.757
+0.752
7
Raffaele Marciello
Sauber
53
1:11.826
+0.821
8
Stoffel Vandoorne
McLaren
76
1:12.530
+1.525
9
Susie Wolff
Williams
39
1:13.248
+2.243

About Ritesh K Bhana

Ritesh likes to think he is a true Tifosi, but he still remains fair to other teams. He supports two other teams which are not Red Bull and McLaren. Follow Ritesh on twitter @Humanshield_1

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