Within the first few minutes of the morning session, Nico Prost brought out the red flags, followed shortly after by a trip through the gravel trap by Jean-Eric Vergne.
The ABT drivers seem determined to ensure the lap record is broken at any opportunity, with a blistering 1:29:920 set by Lucas di Grassi. His teammate, Daniel Abt, had only just set the new record the previous day.
Renault eDams (no longer eDams Renault) continued to produce steady lap times, however as the undisputed stars of last year’s test, their performance this year is slightly lack lustre.
The Trulli team was another no-show, leading to doubts about their appearance at the final tests next week.
Andretti’s woes also continued as Simona de Silvestro failed to set a time, although did complete several out laps and only had to be recovered once.
Most of the drivers completed race simulation laps in the morning session, where the engine is restricted to 150kW. The qualifying sims at 200kW then followed in the afternoon, and lap times started to tumble.
Undeniably, the best part of the day was during the two hour lunch break, where fans could get up close and personal with both the cars and the drivers, which had a very positive reception.
Drivers kindly gave up part of their lunch break to come out and sign autographs and take selfies. Simona de Silvestro appeared in very high spirits given the teething problems Andretti are having. All of the drivers were warm and welcoming, although a special shout-out should be given to Mahindra, whose drivers were not behind protective rope and spent a long time interacting with the fans. The crowd around Bruno Senna was immense, possibly due to the amount of time he insisted on spending talking to the people who came to see him. (My mother called him a true gent).
Given the lack of reliability problems in the most part across the field, it will be interesting to see what next week’s final tests will throw into the mix. Undoubtedly ABT will seek to break their record once again, however Dragon Racing eDams may surprise it and snatch it from out of their hands.
Many thanks go to my mother, who I dragged along to the test, and who made copious notes and took some great trackside pictures.