- Second Barcelona Test - Day Four
Bottas tops final day of testingNate Saunders in Barcelona March 1, 2015
Valtteri Bottas put Williams top on the final day of winter testing in Barcelona as the size of the gap between Mercedes and the chasing pack became clearer.
Bottas set a 1:23.068 on the super-soft tyre, two tenths quicker than his team-mate Felipe Massa's best but still some three tenths off the quickest time set by Rosberg on the soft tyre on Firday. Mercedes focused on set-up work for the entire day and did not even attempt a super-soft run, leaving the paddock guessing how much extra the world champions will have in their pocket come the season opener in Melbourne.
For the second day in a row Williams ended its day early having successfully ticked off its programme before the end of the session. Bottas finished with 89 laps to his name to round off a week which has seen Williams focus on testing a raft of new parts for the car ahead of the first race of the year. At Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel attempted a race simulation but this was delayed by a lengthy stoppage in the garage after his first pit stop. However, the German completed the race simulation in the final minutes of the evening.
Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth in the standings for Red Bull, completing 72 laps after an ERS failure cost him valuable running time in the morning. The second red flag of the day was for Pastor Maldonado shortly after lunch, as the Venezuelan went straight on at Turn 4 and into the tyre barrier. Lotus spent much of the day tweaking its front wing settings, which the team said would impact the car's balance shortly before the accident. Maldonado did not return to the track in the afternoon and ended the final day with just 35 laps to his name.
McLaren had a low key day with Jenson Button at the helm. The team spent the morning in the garage as it ran system checks but eventually recorded 30 laps. Button bolted on the super-softs midway through the afternoon and set a 1:25.237, a full two seconds off the headline time by Bottas. However, after such a troublesome winter it is unlikely McLaren was running its engine at full power as it continues to gather valuable data about its new Honda power unit.
Sergio Perez continued Force India's remarkable start to life with the VM08 as he took the mileage into triple figures for the second day running. It was only the second full day of running for the 2015 car but it was once again appeared to run smoothly and without major issue. Sauber rookie Felipe Nasr recorded the highest lap count with 159, while Max Verstappen recovered from an afternoon stoppage at Turn 12 to finish the day with 85 laps. A late run on the super-soft tyre put him fourth with a 1:24.257.
The teams now have less than two weeks to assess data ahead of the first free practice session of the season in Melbourne on March 13, two days before the first grand prix of 2015.
1. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:23.063 89 laps 2. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:23.469 129 laps 3. Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:24.023 159 laps 4. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:24.527 85 laps 5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:24.638 72 laps 6. Sergio Perez Force India 1:25.113 130 laps 7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:25.186 148 laps 8. Jenson Button McLaren 1:25.327 30 laps 9. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:28.272 36 laps
Nate is assistant editor of ESPNF1