Fears that the pace of second-tier GP2 cars could overtake formula one in 2014 are now easing.
After the opening test of the all-new V6 'power unit' era at Jerez recently, Jenson Button warned that GP2 will run F1 close on some circuits this year.
But in Bahrain on Thursday, Button's new rookie teammate Kevin Magnussen surprised the entire paddock with his best lap of just under 1m35 -- a shade over 2.5 seconds shy of Nico Rosberg's V8-powered 2013 pole position.
Afterwards, Magnussen said: "I never believed that we would be five seconds slower than last year.
"It won't be too long until we have caught up with the old formula one," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
Mercedes has reportedly been running with the medium tyre only, because the Brackley squad did not ask Pirelli to supply the softest in its range, which are never used in competition in Bahrain.
Team chairman Niki Lauda, however, is now curious.
"A test is there for testing, to see the whole picture. You have to know what you can do on each tyre and I would like to know if we could do the Magnussen time on the super-soft tyre," the Austrian legend said.
"No matter what rule changes there are, the engineers always manage to catch up the lost time," the German is quoted by Speed Week.
"And we are only at the very beginning."