Barcelona test two, day four, the final day of testing before the season begins in earnest, brought much of the same for fans as Mercedes confirmed their genuine pace thanks to the efforts of Nico Rosberg. The German shattered team mate Lewis Hamilton’s Saturday best by 0.4 seconds, but has to be wary of the speed shown by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who was also faster than Hamilton.
Rosberg made two low-fuel runs to post two laptimes quicker than his team mate, before switching to longer runs during the afternoon in a bid to add even greater mileage to the car before Melbourne.
The day was less successful for Lotus, with Kimi Raikkonen sitting out the morning session after a gearbox failure sidelined his E21. He eventually got out to complete just 50 laps and post the 5th fastest time of the day. Jenson Button was 3rd for Mclaren, trialling soft, medium and hard Pirelli compounds before setting his quickest time on unmarked tyres similar to those used by Lewis Hamilton yesterday. Sadly for the ever-optimistic Brit, the time was some 1.3 seconds slower than Rosberg’s benchmark times and suggest Mclaren are still some way off understanding their car properly.
Nico Hulkenberg was 4th for Sauber, on a 1:21:541 set on the softer tyres, with Raikkonen followed by Paul Di Resta in 6th. The Scot made significant progress with the VJM06 in the morning, slicing his laptime down to 1:21:664 as he clocked up 112 laps. Maldonado was Williams’ fastest man as they once again split the running between the Venezuelan and Finnish rookie team mate Valtteri Bottas. World Champion Sebastian Vettel completed a low-key day as the meat in a Williams sandwich down in 8th with a 1:22:514.
Charles Pic and Jules Bianchi enjoyed a close-fought running battle throughout the morning, the Caterham eventually edging the Marussia recruit by just 0.04 seconds. Daniel Ricciardo ended the day 12th, ahead of Max Chilton who drove the Marussia in the afternoon session.