The 2018 pre-season test is in the books and the books will look kindly on the effort and performance of Toro Rosso Honda. Today Brendon Hartley piloted his car over 156 laps consisting of more than two full race simulations while setting a best lap time of 1:18.949, good enough for 7th place. While it’s only Grands Prix that really count, this testing period should set the tone for 2018; critics are becoming believers and patient fans are optimistic: Toro Rosso Honda is a partnership that genuinely shows signs of success.
Elsewhere on the grid, Ferrari continued its run at the top of the timing sheet with a 1:17.221 set by Raikonnen. McLaren made an attempt at silencing its critics with a second best time of 1:17.784 set by Alonso; however, this comes after a blown turbo severely limited the team’s running today. Carlos Sainz finally got a Renault into a respectable position, 3rd with a 1:18.092. From there, Red Bull and Haas slotted in with times in the low 1:18’s. Mercedes, Force India, and Williams were scattered through the bottom of the order as the former and latter fielded both of their drivers. All of these teams elected for low-key running over setting flashy lap times.
1. Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1m17.221s, -, 153 laps
2. Alonso, McLaren, 1m17.784s, +0.563, 83 laps
3. Sainz, Renault, 1m18.092s, +0.871, 45 laps
4. Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1m18.327s, +1.106, 92 laps
5. Grosjean, Haas, 1m18.412s, +1.191, 181 laps
6. Bottas, Mercedes, 1m18.825s, +1.604, 104 laps
7. Hartley, Toro Rosso, 1m18.949s, +1.728, 156 laps
8. Ocon, Force India, 1m18.967s, +1.746, 163 laps
9. Leclerc, Sauber, 1m19.118s, +1.897, 75 laps
10. Sirotkin, Williams, 1m19.189s, +1.968, 105 laps
11. Hamilton, Mercedes, 1m19.464s, +2.243, 97 laps
12. Stroll, Williams, 1m19.954s, +2.733, 27 laps
Flawless is perhaps the best word to describe the penultimate day of pre-season testing for Toro Rosso Honda. Pierre Gasly drove the STR13 to a healthy 168 laps and posted a third best time of 1:18.363, an encouraging performance in terms of distance, reliability, and pace. Gasly’s time would also seem to indicate a functioning [and effective] qualifying mode. Brendon Hartley returns to the cockpit tomorrow for the final day of testing.
Elsewhere on the grid, today was Ferrari’s day to shine with Sebastian Vettel setting an absolutely scorching 1:17.182 on the hyper soft tire, a new track record. Kevin Magnussen set a very impressive second best time of 1:18.360 on the super soft tire, suggesting their goal of being within .5s of their engine supplier may have been achieved. Both Renault drivers slot in behind Gasly with times in the mid 1:18’s. McLaren follows with a 1:18.855. Mercedes opted for low-key program today with both drivers in the mid 1:19’s, occupying 8th and 9th. The same could be said of Red Bull with Verstappen slotting in in 12th with both Williams drivers sandwiching his 1:19.842.
1. Vettel, Ferrari, 1m17.182s, -, 184 laps
2. Magnussen, Haas, 1m18.360s, +1.178, 158 laps
3. Gasly, Toro Rosso, 1m18.363s, +1.181, 168 laps
4. Hulkenberg, Renault, 1m18.675s, +1.493, 79 laps
5. Sainz, Renault, 1m18.725s, +1.543, 66 laps
6. Vandoorne, McLaren, 1m18.855s, +1.673, 146 laps
7. Ericsson, Sauber, 1m19.244s, +2.062, 145 laps
8. Bottas, Mercedes, 1m19.532s, +2.114, 84 laps
9. Hamilton, Mercedes, 1m19.575s, +2.350, 97 laps
10. Kubica, Williams, 1m19.629s, +2.447, 73 laps
11. Perez, Force India, 1m19.634s, +2.452, 155 laps
12. Verstappen, Red Bull, 1m19.842s, +2.660, 187 laps
13. Stroll, Williams, 1m20.262s, +3.080, 62 laps
On day 2 of the second test, Toro Rosso Honda appears to have been in good form after a difficult first day. Brendon Hartley drove the STR13 118 laps to a 5th best lap time of 1:19.823 set on the hyper soft tire. The only setback of the day was a stall at the end of pit lane thought to be software-related. Pierre Gasly takes over driving duties tomorrow.
Elsewhere on the grid, Daniel Ricciardo not only tops the chart but also surprised with a track record, 1:18.047 set on the hyper soft tire. Second and third places are occupied by the Mercedes drivers with times in the mid 1:18’s. Ferrari was content to lag about a second behind the Mercedes pair with a 1:19.541. After Hartley, McLaren slots in with a 1:19.823 set on the hyper soft tire; however, McLaren suffered a miserable day with an oil leak necessitating an engine change. Renault, Haas, Force India, and Sauber round out the order with times in the 1:20’s.
1. Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1m18.047s, -, 165 laps
2. Hamilton, Mercedes, 1m18.400s, +0.353, 90 laps
3. Bottas, Mercedes, 1m18.560s, +0.513, 85 laps
4. Vettel, Ferrari, 1m19.541s, +1.494, 66 laps
5. Hartley, Toro Rosso, 1m19.823s, +1.776, 119 laps
6. Alonso, McLaren, 1m19.856s, +1.809, 57 laps
7. Sainz, Renault, 1m20.042s, +1.995, 88 laps
8. Grosjean, Haas, 1m20.237s, +2.190, 78 laps
9. Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1m20.242s, +2.195, 49 laps
10. Stroll, Williams, 1m20.349s, +2.302, 63 laps
11. Hulkenberg, Renault, 1m20.758s, +2.711, 102 laps
12. Ocon, Force India, 1m20.805s, +2.758, 130 laps
13. Leclerc, Sauber, 1m20.919s, +2.872, 160 laps
14. Sirotkin, Williams, 1m22.350s, +4.303, 80 laps
Hoping to build on a nearly perfect first test, Toro Rosso Honda hit the track this morning for the first day of the second pre-season test; however, they did not experience the same level of success. Pierre Gasly piloted the STR13 for 54 laps and set a respectable 5th best time of 1:20.973 on the soft tire. Afternoon running was cut short by a brake system issue, the first real problem for the team.
Elsewhere on the grid, Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull, respectively, occupied the top three spots with times in the low-mid 1:20’s. Haas finished just behind Toro Rosso with a 1:21.298, followed by Renault, Williams, and Force India with times in the mid 1:21’s. McLaren occupies the 12th and penultimate spot with a 1:21.946 (set on the ultra soft tire) after a pair of stoppages scuppered their running.
1. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1m20.396s, -, 168 laps
2. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 1m20.596s, +0.200, 86 laps
3. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 1m20.649s, +0.253, 127 laps
4. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1m20.808s, +0.412, 88 laps
5. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, 1m20.973s, +0.577, 54 laps
6. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, 1m21.298s, +0.902, 93 laps
7. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 1m21.432s, +1.036, 48 laps
8. Carlos Sainz, Renault, 1m21.455s, +1.059, 91 laps
9. Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, 1m21.588s, +1.192, 42 laps
10. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1m21.643s, +1.247, 93 laps
11. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1m21.706s, +1.310, 118 laps
12. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, 1m21.946s, +1.550, 38 laps
13. Lance Stroll, Williams, 1m22.937s, +2.541, 83 laps