The point of going testing is to try to iron out all the bugs in new cars, to collect data to be used for simulation, to look for set-ups and to understand the quirks of each car and how they might be improved. Setting fast times may be interesting but it is not essential. One must expect a certain amount of trouble, although to be fair the F1 teams have once again done an amazing job to run as much as they have with new machinery. Some teams may have been trying to get some good PR with fast times, but today things were definitely settling down with longer runs being the order of the day. Yesterday, Sebastian Vettel was fastest for Ferrari with a 1m22.810s, but today saw Nico Hulkenberg taking the Force India to a best of 1m23.110s, on super soft tyres, but completing only 74 laps. This means that the Silverstone team has done only 233 laps over the three days, which amounts to just 675 miles of running, with the three different drivers.
Romain Grosjean was second fastest in the Haas-Ferrari, completing 82 laps, but his best was a long way off Hulkenberg, with a 1m25.874s. The Haas team has now completed around 540 miles of running in the three days of running.
Kimi Raikkonen has his first runs in the new Ferrari and set the third quickest time, but this was only a 1m25.977s and he managed just 208 miles which raised Ferrari’s three-day total to 772 miles, still a long way behind Mercedes.
There was some solid mileage for Renault with Kevin Magnussen getting his first runs in the car and completing 111 laps despite one mechanical problem. This meant that in one day he had done 30 laps more than Jolyon Palmer achieved in the first two days, bringing the team’s total to 550 miles, which is rather better than it was 24 hours ago.
Mercedes decided to split the day with Nico Rosberg doing the morning and Lewis Hamilton the afternoon, which resulted in the pair completing another 162 laps between them, 468 miles in the day, bringing the team’s three-day total to 1,418 miles. Rosberg set a best of 1m26.084s, which was fifth overall, while Hamilton was eighth with a best lap of 1m26.421s.
Scuderia Toro Rosso had a labour-intensive day with Carlos Sainz completing 161 laps, despite one technical glitch. He was sixth quickest with a 1m26.239s. The team has now completed a total of 975 miles of running, the second highest mileage behind Mercedes.
Felipe Nasr took over the old Sauber from Marcus Ericsson and completed 115 laps, finishing seventh fastest but giving the team 910 miles of running in the first three days of the test.
Ninth quickest was Daniil Kvyat in the Red Bull-TAG-Heuer, who recorded 74 laps. This means that the team has managed 780 miles in total
Felipe Massa was 10th over all and added 109 laps to the Williams tally, which now stands at 321, which equates to 930 miles of running, which means that Williams has done the third highest total of mileage so far.
McLaren had Jenson Button back in the car, but he had an hydraulic problem in the afternoon, which means that he did only 51 laps, giving the team a total of 250 laps which is around 725 miles of running.
Bringing up the rear was new boy Rio Haryanto who did 78 laps before spinning off in his Manor. He was more than second slower than Button, with a best of 1m28.249s. The Manor team finished the day with 203 laps in total, which is just over 570 miles in total.
What is clear is that the Mercedes is far ahead of the test of the pack in terms of glitches and that has to be a big advantage.