Palmer tops final day of test for Lotus

© XPB 

Jolyon Palmer topped the times on the final day of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya thanks to a late lap on supersoft tyres.

With Pascal Wehrlein having been top for the majority of the day in the Mercedes, Palmer was the first driver to use the supersofts for a flying lap this week and promptly went 0.4s clear with a 1:26.080. Palmer would have been even further clear of the field as he embarked on an even later run, but after setting the fastest two sectors he lost time behind Jenson Button’s McLaren in the final sector.

Wehrlein had been top for the entire afternoon session despite illness before Palmer’s late burst, lowering his best time to a 1:26.497. While Nico Rosberg was more than two seconds clear of the field on the opening day, Wehrlein also had Pascal Gasly for close company in the Red Bull as the Frenchman posted a best lap of 1:26.683.

Gasly caused one of three stoppages in the day as he failed to make it beyond the pit lane exit in the afternoon session, but managed to complete 75 laps as he finished the day in third place on his first day in the Red Bull despite having not posted a time before the lunch break while testing tyres for Pirelli.

Following Sunday’s difficulties in the Spanish Grand Prix - when he called the car “scary to drive” - Button had a much more encouraging day in the MP4-30. Noting the progress made by McLaren after some early runs, Button went on to complete 100 laps and set the fourth fastest time, 0.8s slower than Palmer’s effort despite only running on high fuel.

Alex Lynn was fifth fastest on his first day driving the Williams FW37, a mere 0.040s slower than Button. The 2014 GP3 champion only completed 52 laps as Williams completed its program early, and was the last driver within a second of Palmer’s time.

Sixth fastest was Esteban Ocon, who was only called up to drive for Force India on Tuesday. Filling in for Wehrlein - who had missed the opening day’s running, causing Force India to reshuffle its line-up - Ocon managed 94 laps and a best time of 1:27.520 as the team focused on some updates to the VJM08’s chassis this week.

Esteban Gutierrez’s first taste of the 2015 Ferrari saw him complete 119 laps, albeit nearly two seconds off the pace. The Mexican carried out a number of long runs on medium tyres in the afternoon session, simulating some of the race stints seen on Sunday.

Carlos Sainz’s total of 126 laps was only bettered by Wehrlein and came despite a stoppage in the afternoon session. Sainz caused a red flag when his Toro Rosso stopped at the pit lane entry, but he returned to complete impressive mileage as he finished 0.067s slower than Gutierrez.

A crash in the morning session limited Raffaele Marciello’s running in the Sauber, with the Italian driver going off at Turn 3 and damaging the front left suspension after just eight laps. The team managed to fix the problem during the lunch break and Marciello enjoyed a busy afternoon but finished the day 2.7s adrift of Palmer’s time.

Click here for Wednesday's gallery from testing at the Circuit de Catalunya

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