Ricciardo tops Friday morning session

© XPB 

Daniel Ricciardo topped an encouraging morning session for Red Bull on the second day of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Having said on Thursday that he could feel progress with the RB11 despite limited mileage, Ricciardo’s day got off to an inauspicious start as he stopped at the end of the pit lane ahead of his installation lap. Red Bull recovered the car and quickly wheeled it back to the garage, before sending Ricciardo back out for a productive morning session.

Red Bull initially completed a number of pit stops which quickly increased the lap total without setting a time, before a run on soft tyres later in the morning saw Ricciardo set the benchmark with a 1:24.574 which was half a second quicker than the best lap set on day one. The Australian finished the opening four hours with a number of constant speed aero runs to take his lap tally to 64.

Once again there was a Ferrari in the top two as Kimi Raikkonen - who described the SF15-T as “a very nice car” - finished the morning just 0.010s slower than Ricciardo. Ferrari focused on aero testing early in the session and completed 46 laps.

Sergio Perez continued Force India’s program with the 2014 car following his unscheduled running on Thursday, setting the third fastest time just over 0.1s off Ricciardo’s best. Perez will run for the rest of Friday before handing back to Mercedes reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein on Saturday.

Wehrlein had been on standby to drive for Mercedes on day two due to a neck injury for Nico Rosberg, but as expected Rosberg had recovered sufficiently to complete his planned running. 66 laps saw Rosberg - who announced he is to become a father ahead of the start of the day - set the fourth fastest time.

McLaren-Honda continued running with a new power unit for Fernando Alonso despite a faulty MGU-K seal needing to be redesigned. With full knowledge of the potential reliability issues with the current specification of engine, which will be updated on Saturday, McLaren opted to do set-up testing with a number of time-consuming changes which limited the team to 28 laps.

With Ricciardo’s stoppage in the pit lane causing the only brief red flag of the morning, all teams had the opportunity for consistent running. Felipe Massa (47 laps) was sixth fastest for Williams ahead of Marcus Ericsson in the Sauber who completed 58 laps.

Jolyon Palmer made his debut for Lotus driving the E23 which had been fastest on day one. A slow start saw Palmer take a while to reach double figures, but he completed 31 laps by the lunch break with a best time of 1:28.128. Carlos Sainz Jr was slowest overall with his quickest lap some 0.8s slower than Palmer.

Follow live coverage of the second test here.

Click here for the gallery from day one of the second test

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