The final Formula 1 pre-season test for 2015 came to an end in Spain this weekend with both Mercedes-AMG and Williams F1 topping the timesheets on two days each. Williams’ Felipe Massa opened the final round of the tests by setting the fastest time on day one at 1m 23.500s.
It was the fastest time of the Barcelona pre-season tests – he crossed the line nearly a second faster than Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson who finished in second.
Speaking about his performance, Massa said: “It was a good day for us and the car behaved well. The FW37 never showed a sign of an issue and this has been the case since we arrived at the first test in Jerez. We are doing a lot of work and seem to be moving forward.”
Ericsson led Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton who set the third fastest time of the day. The Briton was on the verge of topping the timesheets but a mechanical let him down in the morning session. Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat set the fourth fastest time, leading Lotus’s Romain Grosjean. McLaren suffered another mechanical failure after only a few runs, ending their day prematurely.
Mercedes ruled the field on the second day with Nico Rosberg behind the wheel. They went for Pirelli’s soft compound tyres, allowing Rosberg to set a staggering time of 1m 22.792s, faster than any driver since the Barcelona tests began. Williams’ Valtteri Bottas was the second fastest driver while Sauber’s Felipe Nasr rounded off the top three fastest times. Maldonado clocked the highest number of laps at 140 followed by Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen at 139. Force India made their debut test run on this day in their new VMJ08 car.
An excited Rosberg said: “I’m pleased with my two laps at the end – I nailed them pretty well and they were both identical, so a good ending to the day. We’re confident that we have a good car and I’m starting to feel good in it. At the same time, of course, we’re well aware that the others have been posting some quick times and we can take nothing for granted.”
On the third day, Hamilton carried on the winning spirit from Rosberg’s day two stint. The Briton set the fastest time of the day at 1m 23.022s. Initially Massa had proven to be quick for Williams in the morning session, running on Pirelli’s Supersoft tyres, but the Brazilian could not beat the Silver Arrow’s time. Massa was second followed by Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari SF15-T. On their second outing, Force India managed to record the highest number of laps at 158, courtesy of Nico Hulkenberg,
Bottas ended the pre-season tests by setting the fastest time on the final day for Williams, leading Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Sauber’s Felipe Nasr respectively. All three drivers were running on supersoft tyres. Toro Rosso’s rookie Max Verstappen was fourth ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo who rounded off the top five. McLaren had an unpleasant day after suffering yet another technical glitch, as Button managed to record 30 laps.
The drivers have less than two weeks before the season kicks off in Australia on March 13. Elsewhere, Marussia F1 team has been included in the 2015 entry list – they are hoping to take part in the season-opener in Australia.
Testing Times for Final Day on Sunday
1. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1m 23.063s, 89 laps
2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1m 23.469s, 129 laps
3. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, 1m 24.023s, 159 laps
4. Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, 1m 24.527s, 85 laps
5. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1m 24.638s, 72 laps
6. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1m 25.113s, 130 laps
7. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1m 25.186s, 148 laps
8. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1m 25.327s, 30 laps
9. Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, 1m 28.272s, 36 laps