Rosberg unleashes Mercedes pace as McLaren hits 100

© XPB 

Nico Rosberg set the fastest time of the second day of the final Barcelona test as Mercedes showed its pace.

Mercedes had been hiding its potential by not setting a lap time on soft tyres until Friday afternoon, with Rosberg taking to the track and setting a 1:22.792. While 0.7s quicker than Felipe Massa had managed on Thursday, Rosberg’s time was also 1.2s clear of the rest of the field on day two.

Aside from the Mercedes lap time, the standout figure on the timing screens came courtesy of the McLaren MP4-30 as Jenson Button completed 101 laps. It was the first time the new Honda power unit had reached three figures this pre-season and only the second time it had passed 50.

Button caused a late red flag when his car stopped at Turn 8 in the final half hour of the day, but his lap time was also much more representative as he posted a 1:25.590. It was a time that was 2.8s off the pace of the Mercedes but still quick enough for fifth overall and 0.4s faster than Fernando Alonso’s best from the second test.

Having topped the times on day one, Williams had to be content with second fastest on Friday as Valtteri Bottas set a 1:23.995. Bottas’ time was also set on the soft tyre, with Massa’s lap from Thursday showing that the FW37 is capable of going faster.

Felipe Nasr finished the day third quickest having been top at the lunch break. Nasr was one of the drivers not to improve in the afternoon session as Sauber focused on completing another race simulation. While the run was disrupted by a red flag, Nasr lapped more quickly in the final stint on hard tyres than team-mate Marcus Ericsson had managed on his own simulation on Thursday.

The red flag was caused by Daniil Kvyat, who had stopped on the outside of Turn 1 immediately after leaving the pit lane. It was one of three interruptions on Friday, with Button’s stoppage being followed by Pastor Maldonado parking his Lotus at the pit entrance in the closing minutes.

Sebastian Vettel was fourth fastest for Ferrari and ended the day with the highest mileage as only three of the nine teams failed to pass 100 laps. Vettel clocked up 143 as Ferrari worked on aerodynamic tests.

Maldonado ended the day sixth fastest behind Button, with Max Verstappen seventh. The Toro Rosso completed 139 laps despite having its day cut short towards the end of a planned race distance.

Daniil Kvyat was eighth quickest for Red Bull having carried out a number of pit stops in the morning session, failing to set a time in the opening three hours of the day.

While bottom of the times it was an encouraging day for Force India as it managed to get significant mileage on its new VJM08. Having run the car before the lunch break, Nico Hulkenberg completed 77 laps overall and set a best time 5.6s off the pace as the new car ran reliably.

1N. RosbergMercedes1:22.792106
2V. BottasWilliams1:23.99590
3F. NasrSauber1:24.071140
4S. VettelFerrari1:25.339142
5J. ButtonMcLaren1:25.590101
6P. MaldonadoLotus1:26.705140
7M. VerstapppenToro Rosso1:26.766139
8D. KvyatRed Bull1:26.96583
9N. HülkenbergForce India1:28.78576

Full times and day two as it happened

Click here for the gallery from day two of the final test

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Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 2 -  Barcelona, Spain