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.
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.
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.
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