- Oct 27, 2014
Williams were fastest for the second time as pre-season testing drew to a close at Barcelona, while Mercedes and Sauber completed their own small feats.
The Finnish driver was quickest both in the morning and afternoon, and despite a smaller 89 laps than some other teams completed, today marked a successful end to a quietly productive testing program for the Grove team. Williams haven’t produced many of the headlines since late January, but they’ve also had very few reliability issues with the FW37, and could mean they still battle against the likely improved Ferrari and Red Bull this year. Speaking of which, Daniel Ricciardo had an ERS problem in the morning which again limited Red Bull’s running, while Sebastian Vettel was 2nd fastest amidst increasing rumours reported by BBC Sport that Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen’s race-simulation run yesterday was considered “nothing special" by the rest of the paddock.
But McLaren must wish they at least had Ferrari's reliability at the moment. Their Honda-powered MP4-30 was once again stuck in the garage for most of the morning, leaving Jenson Button to complete just 30 laps in total and a lot of unknowns ahead of Australia in two weeks’ time. Force India, despite only starting to test their 2015 car on Friday, are experiencing much more immediate luck than their Woking rivals. Sergio Perez had his first go in the VJM08 today after Nico Hulkenberg ran on Friday and Saturday, and the Mexican gave the team another huge 130-lap haul. The team didn’t quite retain this year’s record for most testing laps completed in a day however. At 159 laps and 3rd quickest, Felipe Nasr in the Sauber beat them by one as the Brazilian closes on his grand prix debut.
Fellow rookie Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso stopped with an engine problem in the afternoon, but Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado went one further by crashing at turn four, ending the team’s test a few hours early. Nico Rosberg and Mercedes comparatively looked very assured despite being only 7th fastest, running 148 laps unconcerned with one-lap pace. Today also meant that the W06 Hybrid completed all of testing without using Pirelli’s super-soft compound tyre once. Since Mercedes could set competitive laptimes regardless, we probably haven't seen how good the German manufacturer’s car really is yet.
Second Barcelona Test Day Four Results
1. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1:23.063 89 laps
2. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:23.469 129 laps
3. Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari 1:24.023 159 laps
4. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso-Renault 1:24.527 85 laps
5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1:24.638 72 laps
6. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1:25.113 130 laps
7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:25.186 148 laps
8. Jenson Button McLaren-Honda 1:25.327 30 laps
9. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Mercedes 1:28.272 36 laps
The 2015 season gets underway with Friday practice at Melbourne, Australia on March 13th. Not long now…
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