After Ferrari topped the times on the two opening days of the very first pre-season test of the 2015 Formula One season, today it was the turn of the Ferrari engined Sauber team to top the times, with the Brazilian rookie Felipe Nasr setting the time.
Sauber have been trying some quick lap runs on the soft tyres during the opening two days of the first test at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain, although were denied the top spot by the Ferrari of Sebastien Vettel.
For Sauber it proved to be third time lucky as Felipe Nasr set the fastest time with a 1m21.545 lap time during the mid-afternoon period of running, topping Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari by 0.205 of a second. Nasr however blotted his copybook early on by causing the first red flag of the day, after spinning into the gravel at Turn 9 when the circuit was still damp.
Today showed that Ferrari and Mercedes continue to hover around the top spots during all three days of running so far, although this is only first pre-season test this will be encouraging for both teams.
Nico Rosberg again had a busy day behind the wheel as he completed a massive 151 laps as he gains an in depth understanding of the new Mercedes MGP W06. Things weren't all plain sailing for Rosberg however, as a on track engine shutdown forced a red flag whilst the Mercedes was recovered just after lunchtime.
Felipe Massa put in a solid day's running for Williams as he set the fourth fastest time, with Pastor Maldonado showing some pace also with the fifth fastest time of a hectic day for the Lotus team. Lotus were late starting in the morning because of a telemetry issue, before Maldonado caused the third and final red flag of the day with only a minute left as he stopped on the back straight after completing almost 100 laps.
The Scuderia Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz Jr acquainted himself well with the car as he initially jostled for the fastest time during the morning, before slipping to sixth by the end of the day. He completed a colossal 137 laps during the day as he gained some valuable mileage as he adapts to F1.
Red Bull struggled during the day with engine gremlins, something which limited Daniel Ricciardo to only 49 laps during the day, of which most came in short runs during the afternoon. Finally the much anticipated McLaren-Honda partnership sprang into life today somewhat as Fernando Alonso was able to complete 32 laps during the morning session, before familiar engine problems curtailed his day's running.
Tomorrow is the final day of the first test, therefore the teams will be looking to gain some invaluable knowledge about their 2015 car, before the pre-season testing moves onto Barcelona in two weeks time. A full rundown of the times and lap count from today can be found below (times via Autosport)
Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
- Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m21.545s 109
- Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m21.750s 0.205s 94
- Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m21.982s 0.437s 151
- Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m22.276s 0.731s 71
- Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes 1m22.713s 1.168s 96
- Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Renault 1m23.187s 1.642s 137
- Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m23.901s 2.356s 49
- Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m35.553s 14.008s 32