Test One: Day Two

Max got his first taste of the RB14 as he took over from Daniel on day two of the first pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The young Dutch driver was made to wait for the experience, however, as after a very brief outing early in the freezing cold morning, Max was back in the garage and the team were investigating a suspected fuel leak.

The source of the issue took some time to locate and Max remained in the garage until the early afternoon. However, with temperatures hovering just above zero and with other teams less than keen to test the conditions, Max reckoned he had lost out on little.

"In the end I don't think we lost too much ground in the morning as the track seemed in pretty poor condition early on," he said. "It wasn't ideal but we had to check through everything and it took a while."

Max eventually hit the track in earnest in the early afternoon and over the next few hours racked up a solid total of 67 laps, the best of which earned him fourth place on the timesheet. That lap of 1:20.326 saw him finish 0.653s behind fastest man Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, second-placed Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes and third-placed Stoffel Vandoorne of McLaren.

Max used the medium tyre throughout his running, while Vettel's best was set on softs. Vandoorne, who took third by the slimmest margin of 0.001s, set his time on Pirelli's new hypersoft tyre. And when running came to a close, with a light dusting of snow on the ground, Max branded his maiden outing in the RB14 a positive one.
"It's early days but the initial feeling is good," he said. "In the afternoon we completed quite a bit of what we wanted to, we tested a few things on the car. It was pretty cold and so it's difficult to switch on the tyres. Basically when you go out of the pits it's flat out to keep the temperatures up and lap by lap you're going faster, it's that cold. It makes it quite difficult but overall it was a positive day."
Commenting on the unseasonably cold conditions affecting testing Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin said: "It is really tricky. When teams select tyres for testing, which happened in December, you're always looking for a consistent tyre but a consistent one is usually one that is pretty durable and that means it's been very difficult to get them working. Plus, as Daniel said yesterday, the re-surfacing means there's just very little grip, so it's difficult to learn a lot.
"It's frustrating but every team is dealing with the same issue, so you just have to readjust your goals for the week and try to tick as many boxes as you can," he added. "That process wasn't really helped by the technical gremlins we experienced this morning but Max had a decent afternoon and his feedback was consistent with what Daniel told us yesterday so all in all we're still reasonably pleased with progress. Cold, but reasonably pleased."
Elsewhere, fifth place on the timesheet went to Renault's Carlos Sainz, with Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly in sixth. It was another solid day for our sister team as Gasly logged a total 82 laps in the team's new Honda-powered car.

Williams tester Robert Kubica finished seventh, three tenths of a second ahead of the team's new race driver Sergey Sirotkin who drove in the morning. Estaban Ocon was 11th for Force India, while Charles Leclerc made his debut as a Formula 1 driver, with the Monegasque claiming 10th position for Sauber. Haas' Kevin Magnussen propped up the timesheet some three seconds off Vettel's pace.