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Williams Top Timesheets as McLaren Woes Continue

By Luke Redmond                                                (Image credit FOM)

Felipe Massa went fastest for Williams on the first day of the final pre-season test in Barcelona on Tuesday.

The Brazilian set a 1:19.726 on the supersoft tires and clocked 168 laps to surprise the field. It was another torrid day for McLaren however as their engine troubles continued.

The Woking outfit have only managed  more laps than Toro Rosso and are the only team yet to dip under the 1:22 barrier. Team principle Eric Boullier expressed his frustration to the media afterwards saying the relationship with manufacturer Honda was becoming strained.

“The pressure is obviously huge. We put the maximum pressure on all of our relationship with Honda, and the same for them. We can’t put a step wrong” said Boullier.

Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel  impressed again also managing 168 laps. Vettel’s fastest time of 1:19.906 was set on the soft tires and was marginally slower than his fastest time of testing so far.

Red Bull began to show what they were capable of with Daniel Ricciardo setting a 1:19.900, albeit on the ultrasofts. The Australian’s lap was the teams fastest of testing so far but the fact Vettel was within six thousands of a second on a slower compound may be of concern.

Elsewhere Mercedes endured a more low profile day with three time world champion Lewis Hamilton admitting his 49 laps in the afternoon session “didn’t feel spectacular”.

The Briton cut his morning run short after causing damage to the floor of his Mercedes. Neither he nor teammate Bottas dipped under the 1:20 mark and managed just 135 laps between them, less than Ferrari, Williams and Force India.

Both Renault and Haas managed similar times and laps as the midfield battle for this season began to take shape. Jolyon Palmer could only muster 15 laps in his Renault and propped up the timesheet after engine trouble halted is running.

Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein completed his first laps of 2017 but couldn’t manage to break the 1:23 barrier.

With just 3 days of testing left, the teams will be starting to get an idea of where in the pecking order they might be come Melbourne on the 26th of March.