Nico Rosberg consolidated Mercedes’ position at the head of the 2014 F1 pack on the final day of the first test in Bahrain, beating McLaren’s Jenson Button to the top spot by over 1.6 seconds.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was third, ahead of newly-signed Williams test and reserve driver Felipe Nasr and Lotus recuit Pastor Maldonado.
Rosberg set the timing screens alight in the morning as he worked through a qualifying simulation, prompting rivals to conclude the Silver Arrows hold a comfortable advantage over their opponents heading into the second test in Bahrain next week. The German moved onto a race simulation in the afternoon, completing fifty laps without incident as others attempted to beat his morning time. Jenson Button came the closest for McLaren, racking up sixty six laps on another solid day but failing to get anywhere near Rosberg’s time of the week, a 1:33:283.
Raikkonen initially enjoyed a more productive day after problems kept him in the garage yesterday morning, completing eighty two laps before crashing his Ferrari at turn four of the Sakhir circuit. Nasr’s eight seven laps for Williams was highly impressive as he beat established names such as Maldonado, Perez and Ricciardo; the Australian had yet another lacklustre day behind the wheel of the Red Bull RB10, completing a mere fifteen laps.
There were problems for Sauber and Marussia as well, as the latter found engine gremlins in the powerplant of Jules Bianchi that had hampered him on Friday. Sauber had managed just seven laps before a fault with Adrian Sutil’s chassis was detected and prevented the Swiss team taking any further part in the day’s proceedings. A gearbox issue also put paid to Sergio Perez and Force India’s chances of meaningful running after nineteen laps.
Caterham utilised both their drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson, but they managed a combined total of just twenty one laps thanks to an electrical issue on the car that had performed so admirably yesterday.
DAY FOUR – TIMES – Bahrain Testing 22nd Feb 2014