- First Bahrain Test - Day Four
Rosberg finds another second of pace on final morning
Nico Rosberg lowered the bar again for the new generation of Formula One cars, lapping his Mercedes W05 around the Sakhir circuit within a second of his pole position time from last year's Bahrain Grand Prix.
The lap time will go some way to quelling fears that the new V6 turbo cars are too slow for Formula One, but it will also strike fear into the hearts of some of Mercedes' rivals. After a strong first test in Jerez, Mercedes has shifted its focus towards performance and set-up work, and Rosberg's time - set on the soft compound tyre - is the fruit of the team's labour.
Once again, Mercedes' closest competitor was McLaren, but Jenson Button's best effort of the morning was nearly 1.7s shy of Rosberg. The Mercedes' only showed a minor weakness when it stopped on track during an out lap at 10:36, but within 30 minutes it was back on track.
Meanwhile, Red Bull had another slow start to its day despite addressing the mechanical issue that kept it in the garage on Friday. A power unit problem was to blame on Saturday and Daniel Ricciardo only managed another 13 laps by 13:00.
Ferrari recovered from its "silly" problems on Friday to register a healthy 42 laps by lunch time and set the third fastest time. Kimi Raikkonen and the team are hoping for 100 laps by the end of the day and with a clear run in the afternoon might just make it.
After being announced as a test and reserve driver overnight, Felipe Nasr kicked off his Williams career with 47 laps on Saturday morning. His best time was a 1:39.036 - nearly three seconds off Rosberg - but was still good enough for fourth fastest.
Pastor Maldonado completed another 17 laps at the wheel of the Lotus, but the focus is clearly still on reliability as he was a long way off the pace at the midpoint of the day. Marcus Ericsson's morning only lasted four laps before his Caterham came to smoky halt, while Marussia's Jules Bianchi also struggled for laps with just two. A chassis issue meant Adrian Sutil did not turn a wheel in the Sauber all morning.
Lap times at 13:00 on day four
1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:33.283 27 laps 2. Jenson Button McLaren 1:34.957 39 laps 3. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:36.718 42 laps 4. Felipe Nasr Williams 1:39.036 47 laps 5. Sergio Perez Force India 1:39.258 19 laps 6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:39.837 13 laps 7. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:41.784 6 laps 8. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:41.880 17 laps 9. Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:45.094 4 laps 10. Jules Bianchi Marussia no time 2 laps 11. Adrian Sutil Sauber no time 0 laps