Bottas quickest in Barcelona as pre-season testing comes to a close
Valtteri Bottas finished at the top of the timesheets for Williams as pre-season testing drew to a close at Spain’s Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday. The Finnish driver set a time of 1:23:063 on the red striped supersoft compound to dethrone Vettel’s Ferrari to second place in the results sheet. Both drivers later focused on long runs to prepare for the first race of the new season, that is scheduled to take place in Melbourne on March 15.
Behind the two runners came the Sauber of Felipe Nasr who racked up more laps(159) than any of the nine drivers testing at the 4.65 circuit today. Sauber has probably been the most reliable car of all but it remains to be seen whether they have the pace to fight for top 10 positions again.
Toro Rosso, however, had little luck in terms of reliability on Sunday with Max Verstappen stopping in the middle of the track with issues accruing to his power unit. After being detained for two hours in the garage, the 17 year old returned on track to set the fourth fastest time of the day.
Pastor Maldonado was the other driver to cause a red flag when he went straight in the barriers at turn 4 after brakes on his Lotus E23 failed bizarrely. With a heavily damaged car and the subsequent repair job, the Venezuelan failed to venture out on track again and propped up the timesheets.
Red Bull had been showing positive signs until the final day of testing when Daniel Ricciardo was restricted to the motorhome during the morning session as mechanics effortlessly worked on fixing an ERS problem. On his return to track, he set the fifth fastest time of the day.
Sergio Perez’s first day of acquaintance with VJM08 yielded sixth quickest time of the session. But more importantly he was able to lodge 130 laps which is crucial for a team that brought its 2015 challenger only on the second day of this test.
After evaluating the soft tyres during the last couple of days, Mercedes solely focused on long runs on the slower medium compound on the final day of pre-season testing. As a result, Nico Rosberg was only seventh quickest. However, it’s the mileage that counts at this occasion than anything else.
Finally, McLaren’s hope of ending testing on a high note were dashed with yet more troubles curtailed MP4-30’s running. Jenson Button could manage only 30 laps of the Spanish circuit with his fastest time on supersoft compound 2.2 seconds slower than Bottas’ chart leading laptime of 1:23:063.
With testing having come to a foregone conclusion, the F1 fraternity heads to Australia for round 1 of the 2015 championship. Mercedes’ position at the top of the pecking order is given, but how other teams will line up on the grid come March 15 remains a mystery.
We’ll be in the Melbourne paddock to provide you with all the behind-the-scenes action. Australian Grand Prix can’t come sooner.
- Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 1:23.063 (89 laps)*
- Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:23.469 (109)
- Felipe Nasr (Sauber) 1:24.023 (151)
- Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1:24.638 (58)
- Sergio Perez (Force India) 1:25.113 (120)
- Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:25.186 (132)
- Jenson Button (McLaren) 1:25.327 (29)
- Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso) 1:25.710 (71)
- Pastor Maldonado (Lotus) 1:28.272 (35)*
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