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Barcelona Final Test, Day Four: Bottas fastest, next stop Melbourne
Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  01 Mar 2015   |  6:21 pm GMT  |  32 comments

Valtteri Bottas set the fastest time of the day as winter testing draw to a close in Barcelona today, the Williams driver finishing four tenths of a second clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel as testing pacesetters Mercedes spent the day running on medium and hard tyres.

Bottas’ best time came two and three quarter hours into the morning session. After hitting the top of the timesheet on soft tyres, the Finn bolted on supersofts to record a lap of a lap of 1:23.063. Just before the lunch break Vettel also took on supersoft compound and recorded his day’s best time of 1:23.469. The Ferrari driver then completed a race simulation in the afternoon.

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 17.07.23

After Lewis Hamilton had set yesterday’s best time on soft tyres and Nico Rosberg had done the same on Friday, Mercedes eschewed any kind of performance runs today, with Rosberg spending most of the day on medium and hard tyres as he worked through 148 laps. He eventually took on a set of scrubbed soft tyres in the final half an hour of the session minutes of the session but with the focus on practice starts rather than a headline-grabbing lap time.

Felipe Nasr was third quickest for Sauber, with the Brazilian also logging his quickest lap in the morning on supersoft tyres. As had become the pattern over this final test for many teams, he switched over to long runs in the afternoon and eventually racked up the day’s biggest lap total, touring the Circuit de Catalunya 159 times to complete a successful winter programme for the Swiss team.

Fourth place went to Max Verstappen. The teenager’s running was interrupted midway through the afternoon by an engine issue though his Toro Rosso mechanics managed to get him out again before the chequered flag and he posted his best time in the final moments of the session.

Fifth on the timesheet was Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo, though his best time was set in the afternoon after a compromised morning programme led the team to run a compressed programme in the second half of the day.

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 16.24.22

Ricciardo’s day began positively enough with the Australian completing 10 laps but just after an hour into the session his RB11 ground to a halt at the end of the pit lane. After he had been wheeled back to the garage an ERS issue was diagnosed and any further morning running was off the agenda.

He returned to the track half an hour into the afternoon and soon after took on the soft tyre. His third run on the compound netted his best time of the day, a 1:24.638, which put 1.5s off Bottas supersoft time.

Behind Ricciardo was Force India’s Sergio Perez. The Silverstone-based team had another trouble-free run with the new VJM08, the Mexican driver getting through 130 laps for a best time of 1:25.113, which put him ahead of Rosberg.

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 17.14.54

McLaren’s troubled winter test programme ended with another tricky day. Jenson Button was back at the wheel but he only completed two laps in the morning as a sensor issue restricted the MP4-30 to the garage. The Briton took the track again in the afternoon and made it through 30 laps of the circuit.

The final place on the timesheet was occupied by Pastor Maldonado. The Lotus driver crashed out at Turn Four just after the start of the afternoon session and took no further part in running.

Barcelona Test 2 – Day Four
1 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:23.063s 88
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:23.469s +0.406 129
3 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:24.023s +0.960 159
4 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:24.527s +1.464 85
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:24.638s +1.575 72
6 Sergio Perez Force India 1:25.113s +2.050 130
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:25.186s +2.123 148
8 Jenson Button McLaren 1:25.327s +2.264 30
9 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:28.272s +5.209 36

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This test, aside from one decent run of 101 laps, albeit with a failure on track at the end, Honda have fallen short of expectation. With a year to develop before deployment, failing seals, oil leaks and water leaks? Not doing anything for their road car/bike reputation for reliability.


Am really looking forward to some ding dong battles this season, especially between Williams and Ferrari


A Question: Will McLaren even finish at Melbourne?


how many times did the red bull break down at the end of pit lane. 3 times ?

also noticed a couple of times – when the mclaren was pushed into the garage a mechanic seemed concerned with something on the cars left hand sidepod. (low down near the front.) james do you know what components are mounted in that position ?

something in there is causing grief?


James one question, why didn’t the more resourceful teams, like Mclaren, Red Bull or Ferrari, bring their two cars in for testing, this way if they had an issue with one car the driver could jump to the other o e and keep the program going while mechanics sorted the other one out.

Aren’t they allowed to bring two cars?


Rules stipulate single car testing for cost control reasons


Not many surprised this winter:

1. Mercedes team is picking up exactly where they left and I would assume they are about 0,8 sec faster

2. Williams was the 2nd best last year and I think they will be this year too, at least during the first couple of races

3. I actually thought that Red Bull will be better, but it looks like Ferrari will take the 3rd spot..well, maybe…I am not sure yet. They are close

Sauber is better than last year, Lotus is better than last year too.

I have to say I am very surprised to see McLaren Honda is such a bad shape. It is clear that it is their first season, but still….they might not be even finishing races, let alone fight for whatever.


S’pose the compensation for Honda is that with their reliability they will be able to change pretty much anything they want on the engine !


I think this has been their dastardly plan all along. Make an engine that has decent baseline performance but is horrifically unreliable. Then make changes on the grounds of reliability that also have the side-effect of increasing performance.


+178 tokens 🙂


Did somebody figure out what Red Bull was really hiding all these tests under zebra livery?


As outrageous as it may sound – it was a car.

Kristiane Cyrus

Were they at the test? Didn’t see them anywhere.


Williams and Ferrari look evenly matched – Mercedes seem way out in front. RBR seems to be behind Ferrari and Williams, and ahead of Lotus. Seems like we are in for another Mercedes title winning season but probably more wins from the likes of Ferrari and Williams this year as well. Lets hope for a few wet races to even things up a bit.


Not much to say except –

Roll on Melbourne . . .

For those few who amusingly stated that McLaren or Honda must be ‘sandbagging’ I can divulge that with Mr. Spock Prime’s sad passing, Al’Onso is on imminent recall to fill a vacant ambassadorial role for New Vulcan. The team is temporarily ruffled by interstellar events and will soon recover.

That ‘hiccup’ at Turn 3 was no ‘accident’ – simply an ill-timed psychic episode.


The only ‘sandbagging’ at Honda appears to have been pouring bags of sand into their motor…


Now it all makes sense 🙂


Good to see both Kimi and Seb run lots of laps from a reliability point of view. Ferrari have maintained excellent reliability throughout testing with decent pace. And the straight line speed is finally there as well – should be a good season fingers crossed!


All you need to know is that Mercedes didn’t even put on the super soft tires on there car all through testing.


and they only used 1 engine.


PS Hope Fernando Alonso boards the plane to AUS – a grand prix without his combative abrasive edge wouldn’t be the same…………


So after a successful test at Barcelona it appears Riccardo’s Red Bull is the only none Mercedes team to have topped the timesheets which can be translated as the cars with the most downforce are Mercedes, Williams, Lotus then Red Bull.

Decent time from Bottas on the supersofts and the fact the team closed shop earlier than most shows the team are heading into the season full of confidence.

Good work by Vettel too with the second best time, perfect reliability and a race simulation. However, after Kimi’s race sim, the experts were of the view the team was a little bit slower than Williams.

Hopefully, Sauber can take advantage of the first fly away races by turning their potential into good scoring positions before the other teams get sorted.

Another good showing from young Max, luckily in the midfield, the only thing he will have to concern himself with is finishing ahead of his teammate.

A potential reliability worry is the Red Bull for the car has broken down both with Kvyat and Riccardo but with Riccardo’s good fortune, it appears Kvyat will be the one to race with Webber’s car.

Force India managed a miracle with many laps on board without major set backs, hopefully this won’t hurt the team because cars are meant to be broken in winter so the team can fix future problems.

Mercedes had a quiet day with the focus still on reliability and fine tuning the setup.

Regards Maldonado, if I am not mistaken he now mainly has shunts mainly during test or free practice and hardly during the race which is good news for all.


What’s your feelings about which teams will compete at Melbourne, James? Seems to be added rumours / doubts about FI, Lotus, and Sauber’s participation there?


You don’t need a degree in higher mathematics to work out that on pure raw pace, Merc F1 are in a league of their own, but, most impressively, they have added more performance from last year. With Williams seemingly still unable to find more rear downforce, and Renault seemingly unable to match the performance of the Merc PU, never mind surpass it, once again for Red Bull long straights and mid range torque acceleration zones will be something to dread.

And Ferrari? I guess they could give RB and Williams a couple of black eyes on some weekends, but everyone is in the dark as to what sort of circuit they are well suited for. Williams should go well on aero efficiency tracks with long straights while Red Bull have always been mighty on tight, bumpy raw downforce circuits. Ferrari? Haven’t a clue………….and as for McHonda – bit too spicy, needs more beef.

The big issue going into 2015 is whether Nico Rosberg has got his racecraft and spatial awareness sorted out. On race pace, he’s a match for the Ham-Man, but you can’t imagine Lewis making such a cack-handed mess of overtaking like Spa 2014, or making elementary mistakes while in the lead like at Monza and Texas. It’s not just raw speed that matters for drivers – it’s the ability to handle the pressure and ability to know where you are relative to another car in close combat.

Roll on Melbourne………….


“On race pace, he’s a match for the Ham-Man” – How on earth was Rosberg a match for Lewis on race pace?? Did you not watch last season? The ONLY 2 races where he won on race pace where the 2 races where overtaking was high on impossible in equally matched cars – Monaco and Brazil. Please no one mention Austria.


I think Red Bull will be behind Ferrari purely because Ferrari have gained a lot more horsepower back than Renault, Riccardio seemed pretty downbeat talking about their engine. I think Renault say they won’t make horsepower gains until they use tokens later on the year


Race craft is what you develop….well…..during races. So I do not see how could Nico craft his racing during the winter period.

Kristiane Cyrus

Well at least we’ll see him breathe better, he’s probably going to wear a full scuba diving gear with an oxygen tank on his back to aid his driving.


Nico has been racing at a high levrl for years, he’s got one strength, and thats 1 lap pace, thats it, the rest he’s just a good f1 pilot, not very good, just good, he’s not suddenly going to develop great race craft, and ballsy overtaking moves, like hamilton, youve either got it or you haven’t, and sorry rosberg fans, he falls quite short.


Well, the Merc clearly gonna walk this. Not sure Ham v Ros 2 is gonna be as captivating as last time round though. Redbull and Force India IMO have slipped from where they were last year. And we won’t know where McLaren are until after the first fly away races. Pecking order as I see it: Mercedes; Williams; Ferrari; Redbull; Torro Rosso; Sauba; Lotus; Force India; McLaren(unknown); Manor(unknown).

Chief White-Sky

…after Day Four of Test 2: “McLaren (unknown)”. Now, for all you anti-Conspiracy types, can anyone of you please tell me the “exact” reason that Fernando Alonso didn’t participate in Day Four of Test 2 ? Even though Alonso, in his 24-sec. video statement of the other day, didn’t say anything of substance regarding the accident itself, he did say — that he is “COMPLETELY FINE” ; I take him at his word. He DIDN’T say something to this effect — “I feel fine, BUT the doctors think I need more rest/recovery time before getting back in the car”, for ‘this’-? or ‘that’-? reason. He didn’t say anything like this, or even remotely intimate that such is the case, that he’s not ready/capable of driving again, and now. Again, Alonso himself stated that he is (now) “COMPLETELY FINE”. So, why (what’s the exact reason) would McLaren, keep a completely fine, capable Fernando Alonso out of the final day of testing? Us conspiracy types are all-ears, but we hear nothing from McLaren explaining why their completely fine driver, Alonso, was kept out of this final Test. And the anti-Conspiracy types, (and with a straight face), in responding to the facts above, will simply say, “There’s absolutely nothing “fishy” about this at all.” (Oh yeah, and then, instead of giving logical reasons for any obvious “fishy” stench in the air, the “anti’s” will just resort to the “name-calling” M.O. — usually making insightful comments about tin foil and hats!).


Purely for the sake of the championship – I hope Lewis and Nico go full banzai crash demolition derby on each other. Terrible for them and their team but about the most fun a non-Merc fan can hope for.

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