Magnussen sets pace on penultimate day
30 January 2014 – Formula 1 rookie Kevin Magnussen topped the penultimate day of the opening pre-season test at the Circuito de Jerez, while the Renault-powered outfits continued to struggle with their new units.
Despite a bitterly cold start to the day, temperatures soon rose into double figures and provided near-perfect testing conditions for the teams as they continued to work through their respective programmes.
Having been handed an extra morning of track time, Jenson Button was the initial pace-setter for McLaren, posting a 1:25.030. His effort stood until the early hours of the afternoon when, following a trio of red flags caused by Fernando Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hülkenberg, Lewis Hamilton went over a second faster.
Hamilton's 1:23.952, the fastest of the week at that point, would keep him atop the timesheets until the final 40 minutes. After two more red flag phases, signalled after Adrian Sutil's crash and Jean-Éric Vergne's stoppage, Magnussen embarked upon a rapid Medium tyre run, the Dane moving to the fore with a time of 1:23.276.
A late improvement from Felipe Massa saw the Williams driver displace Hamilton and Button for second place. This also ensured that, perhaps ominously, the top four positions were locked out by Mercedes-powered cars.
Despite losing some time with his early stoppage, Fernando Alonso recovered to complete 58 laps, the second highest total of the day behind Hamilton's 62. The Spaniard took fifth, ahead of Force India's Hülkenberg.
Further back, the Renault-supplied teams endured even more problems. After coming to a smoking halt a few turns into his maiden run in the RB10, Ricciardo was only able to put together three laps before Red Bull called it a day, while Caterham's Robin Frijns failed to deliver a flying lap amid persistent technical trouble.
Vergne was the only Renault-powered driver to post a time, but he ended up 6.6 seconds off the pace and could only amass 30 laps after causing two of the six red flags. Sutil was the last of the timed drivers after his accident.
Behind Ricciardo and Frijns, Max Chilton was the only other driver without a flying lap to his name. The Briton finally gave the new MR03 its maiden run, being sent out for the first time with around two hours remaining.
Pre-season testing at the Circuito de Jerez continues at 9am local time (GMT +1) on Friday