Daniil Kvyat fastest as Lotus tests low-profile Pirellis
The Lotus was wheeled out into the pit lane for initial photos shortly after the start of the session before re-emerging an hour later to put the first miles on the new 18-inch tires. The tires are very much a concept rather than a developed racing product and it was no surprise to see the Lotus nine seconds off the pace by lunch time. However, if the new look captures the imagination of F1 fans and teams, Pirelli is willing to fully develop low-profile tires for 2017.
Kvyat's time of 1:35.544 was slower than the best efforts of Felipe Massa and Daniel Ricciardo on Tuesday, but was 1.583s clear of the next best effort by Kevin Magnussen on Wednesday morning. Jules Bianchi set the third fastest time while standing in for Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari, who was rested following his accident at the British Grand Prix. Marussia team-mate Max Chilton was fourth fastest, just 0.164s slower than Bianchi, although differing run plans and priorities mean comparisons are of limited value.
Force India reserve driver Dani Juncadella was fifth fastest ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Sauber reserve Giedo van der Garde. Sebastian Vettel was tire testing at Red Bull, completing 37 laps in the RB10 and setting the eighth fastest time with a 1:39.915. Lewis Hamilton completed just five laps in the Mercedes after spinning off on cold tires and did not return to the track before 13:00.