Sauber rookie Felipe Nasr refused to get carried away too much despite setting the fastest time on day three of pre-season testing in Jerez.
By posting a time of 1:21.545, the GP2 graduate ended only six tenths shy of the current benchmark held by Sebastian Vettel. Although Nico Rosberg described Ferrari’s pace as eye-opening, Nasr thinks the Mercedes-powered cars are still holding back.
While quick to downplay any wild expectations afterwards, the Brazilian feels there is equal room for improvement on his Ferrari-powered Sauber C34.
“I think we could still get some margin on the car to improve [it], but in general it was good,” said Nasr. “To be honest, I don’t feel we are going to be leading sessions in all the situations with this car. Nevertheless, it always feels good to finish first.
“The Mercedes cars, I think they are hiding a little bit what they can do. It did not seem they were running at 100%. But you never know, this is testing. We don’t know the programmes, what others are doing, etc. I am just happy we did ours, and already looking forward to Barcelona.”
If Nasr enjoyed a productive day at the office by racking up 108 laps, the former Williams reserve driver also had a little moment in the morning when he spun off on a damp track. The Sauber driver prefers taking the positives from the mild incident, and thinks it will help him fare better when faced with similar conditions in the future.
“There was a wet patch on a quick left-hander [Turn 9], and as soon as I touch it I went off. It was nothing major.
“I think I was the only one driving on dry tyres at that first time. It was really for myself to get to know how much you need to go [before switching] to slicks.
“These things can happen so it’s good to find the limits more or less, what the tyres are able to cope with. It’s better to have an understanding of the situation now than to be surprised on a race weekend.”
Click here for the full gallery from day three of testing at Jerez