After a 2015 pre-season where everyone involved in F1 outside of the AMG Mercedes team have wondering just what advantage the team will enter this season with, today the team finally revealed a glimpse of their ultimate pace as Nico Rosberg set a blistering time on a soft tyre run in the afternoon session.
Nico Rosberg topped the times today for AMG Mercedes as late in the afternoon he used soft tyres to set a 1m22.792 lap time, a full 0.7 seconds quicker than the previous fastest time set by Felipe Massa in his Williams yesterday. This is an ominous sign for the rest of the paddock, as Mercedes finally showed just what kind of advantage they have retained going into the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks time.
Of the others running today on day two of the final pre-season test, Williams were the closest challenger to Mercedes today with Valtteri Bottas setting a 1m23.995 lap time, whilst also completing a solid day's running after completing 90 laps. Williams once again showed themselves to likely be the biggest challenger to Mercedes at the start of the season.
Felipe Nasr set the third fastest time with a 1m24.071 for Sauber, as the team once again seemingly showing they have made improvements on last year going into the 2015 season, although the team will likely fall back to the midfield running once the action starts in Australia.
Sebastien Vettel was next up today with a 1m25.339 fastest lap time, as the team also completed yet another solid day's running, as they completed a total 143 laps, the highest total for any driver today. The team has so far had a promising pre-season and it really looks like the team has made some significant improvements on their poor 2014 season.
Jenson Button was fifth fastest today with a 1m25.590 lap time, as the McLaren team finally looked to have turned a corner after a very difficult pre-season so far, as the team adapts to the new Honda powerplant. Button completed 101 total laps, although the car stopped in the final half hour of the test, bringing out the red flags.
Pastor Maldonado finished the day in sixth for Lotus, with a 1m26.705 lap time, with Maldonado completing a great day's running with 140 total laps. Lotus are another team who have looked to have made improvements on 2014, as the team adapt to their new Mercedes engine.
Max Verstappen finished the day seventh for Scuderia Toro Rosso, his fastest lap being a 1m26.766 time. Verstappen completed 139 laps as he adapts to Formula One, although an electrical problem curtailed the team's running with roughly an hour to go.
Next up was Daniil Kvyat in eighth for Red Bull, as the team struggled with Kvyat causing the first red flag of the day when his Red Bull car stopped at the first corner early in the afternoon session. Despite this Kvyat still completed 84 laps, and his 1m26.965 fastest time doesn't appear to be representative of the team's ultimate pace.
Finally today the F1 world finally caught a glimpse of the new Sahara-Force India VJM08 on track, with Nico Hulkenberg completing a total of 77 laps during the team's first day of running with the new car. This is a remarkable amount of laps to be completed on the first day of the car running, with the 1m28.412 lap time showing the team was going for basic runs today, and will likely greatly improve their overall pace during the next two day's of running in Barcelona.
Today revealed some details in terms of the pecking order for the early stages of the F1 season, with Mercedes showing their pace to the paddock, and some vague ideas of a pecking order going into the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks time. Expect to see more in terms of the teams true pace over the next two days, the final days of pre-season testing before the real action starts in Melbourne.
What are your thoughts on today's running? Please feel free to comment below.
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