Ferrari debutant Antonio Fuoco and McLaren tester Stoffel Vandoorne were the only drivers to have completed an installation run when the morning session was brought to a premature halt due to extensive standing water. With the storms not abating, running didn’t resume again until after the lunch break, by which time the teams had agreed to extend the session by two hours.
Further showers followed later in the afternoon, but in the driest period Wehrlein took his F1 W06 Hybrid round in 1m 11.005s on the supersoft tyres to set the day’s benchmark.
Although disappointed that the weather scuppered his full programme, the German, who will drive for Force India on Wednesday, felt positive about his latest outing with the world champion team: “I got to try the slicks, intermediates and wets,” Wehrlein commented, “so it was good from my perspective to be able to compare the tyres and get some experience in all conditions - even if it wasn't ideal for the test programme.”
GP3 frontrunner Esteban Ocon was second quickest in the revised Force India, just ahead of Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen, who ended the day just three laps short of the 100 mark having earlier set the pace when the track was at its wettest.
“It’s been a mega day and thank you to Sahara Force India for the opportunity once again," said Ocon. "It was a shame that we had so much rain this morning, but I’m happy that we were able to run late into the evening. The car was brilliant today – very enjoyable to drive and I noticed how much it had improved compared to the last time I drove in Barcelona. On days like this you learn so much because mileage in a Formula One car is so precious and I was able to test in both the wet and the dry. I didn’t want the day to end because it was such a fantastic experience to work with the engineers and the whole team.”
Fuoco, another GP3 star, ended his first day behind the wheel of an F1 car with the fourth best time, despite crashing at Turn 1 late in the afternoon. Fortunately the Italian was unscathed and his SF15-T suffered only minor damage.
Lotus’s Romain Grosjean, Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly and Sauber’s Rafaelle Marciello all lapped within four tenths of one another as they filled positions five to seven, with Vandoorne just under a second further back. The Belgian completed 76 laps – tied for third most on the day - in what was a much more productive session for McLaren following their disastrous weekend in Austria.
Susie Wolff clocked just 39 laps as she completed the timesheet for Williams, though the Scotswoman did demonstrate the day’s most intriguing technical update - a pair of winglets situated just in front of the FW37’s rear wheels.
"We had a pretty good day," said Rod Nelson, Williams' chief test and support engineer. "The main focus early on was to test aero development items which have given us plenty of data to look at and will no doubt help us as the season goes on. Susie was then unlucky with the weather in the afternoon. We had just finished the aero work when, on new tyres, it started to rain again. She did a great job throughout the day and so it is a shame that she didn’t get the chance to show her pace."
The only team not in attendance were Marussia.
The second and final day of testing, both in Austria and during this season, takes place on Wednesday when Ferrari reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez and DTM ace Marco Wittmann will be amongst those in action.
Unofficial Tuesday testing times from Spielberg
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