Pastor Maldonado sets the quickest time for Lotus in Barcelona test
Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado topped the timesheets on day 3 of Barcelona test on Saturday, setting a time of 1:24:348 on the red striped Pirelli super soft tyres. Apart from the headline-grabbing lap time, the Venezuelan also managed 104 laps, gathering crucial data about the E23 and the Mercedes engine that sits on its back.
Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen led the session for majority of the day with his time of 1:24:739 (also set on the super softs), before settling in for second place. The 17-year old managed more laps than any driver testing at the track including Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
The German team continued to focus on long runs and preferred not to use the soft or the super soft compounds. As a result, he was only third fastest with a time that was 1.7 seconds down on Maldonado’s chart leading 1:24:348. Marcus Ericsson made up for lost time in the morning session with 53 laps during broad daylight. The Swedish driver ended the day with the fourth fastest lap time.
Next in line was Sebastian Vettel who had an inauspicious start to the day with a spin on his outlap. The German, however, recovered from his careless mistake and went on to pound the 4.6 km circuit for over 100 laps.
Daniil Kvyat who replaced Vettel at Red Bull was next on road and also managed decent mileage in his RB11, which included an incomplete race simulation.
Williams decided to share duties between its two drivers with Massa taking the wheels of the FW37 in the morning and Bottas taking over the duties from the Brazilian in the afternoon. The two drivers ended the day with 7th and 9th fastest time of the day. Pascal Wehrlein was sandwiched between the two Williams duo in 9th place in his Force India. With 2015 car yet to make its debut, the team is focusing its efforts solely on tyre performance.
And finally Jenson Button completed the timings screen on another troubled day for McLaren and its engine partners Honda. The Japanese manufacturer had hoped to sort the issue that plagued its running on Thursday with a new MGU-K seal. But such efforts went in vain and Button stopped midway on track, before returning later in the afternoon. The Brit only managed 24 laps all day long.