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Formula One: Bottas fastest as pre-season testing comes to a close

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barcelona2 day 4 (1004)Pre-season testing for the 2015 Formula One world championship has been completed, with Valtteri Bottas finishing as the fastest driver on the final day. The Finnish driver had a fastest time on 1:23.063 after 89 laps, with the Williams team calling it a day with just over an hour remaining in the session. Valtteri’s time was three tenths of a second slower than the best time set over the eight day test at Catalunya which was set by Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes. Both times were set on the fastest super-soft compound tyre.

Second placed Sebastian Vettel similarly set his best lap on the super-soft Pirelli tyres. The 2010-2013 world champion was four tenths down on Bottas after 121 laps, with the German attempting a race simulation in the afternoon. The Scuderia have had a solid pre-season testing, with team chief Maurizio Arrivabene claiming that the drivers are pleased with the SF15-T:

“They are quite happy. Kimi said he noticed an improvement versus last year. For Seb, everything is new. He is very enthusiastic and his feedback is quite positive. If you listen to the drivers, they want to win the championship of course! But we have to be realistic. Two victories coming from the situation we had last year would be, in my opinion, more than fine.”

The Sauber-Ferrari followed the works Ferrari in third place, with Felipe Nasr completing the most amount of laps with 159. Sauber have had very productive days during testing interspersed with mechanical failures; usually in the last hour of the day. It will be interesting to see how the team that scored their worst season in Formula One after scoring no points and finishing behind Marussia will bounce back this year. They completed another race simulation, with today being the fourth day in a row that the Swiss team attempted to cover the 66 lap distance of the Spanish Grand Prix.

Toro Rosso teenager Max Verstappen had a mixed day behind the wheel of the SRT10. His day was interrupted after mechanical issues caused a stoppage on track. He re-emerged in the final 45 minutes to take the fourth fastest time with 85 laps on the board. The next time he will be behind the wheel will be in practice for the Australian Grand Prix where he will become the youngest driver in Formula One history at 17 years old.

Fifth fastest belonged to Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who suffered a day of limited running after the camouflaged RB11 broke down at the end of pit-lane. Ricciardo came back in the afternoon to complete 72 laps with a best of 1:24.638. The team will remain at the Circuit de Catalunya for two days to complete 200km of filming running with the usual livery adorning the car for the first time this year.

Force India took sixth place in the ever impressive 2015 VJM08. Despite only running the car for the first time on Friday, the team and drivers have quickly gotten to grips with the 2015 evolutionary machinery. Sergio Perez was behind the wheel, with the Mexican scoring a century of laps for the team. Nico Rosberg, the fastest man in Catalunya this week, was seventh fastest today, with the team concentrating on long runs with a total lap tally of 148.

McLaren failed to get out in the morning session until the final 5 minutes before lunch due mechanical issues on the MP4-30. The team managed to get 30 laps completed for Jenson Button during the afternoon, with a best lap of 1’25.327; just slower than the time set by Magnussen yesterday. McLaren’s racing director, Eric Boullier, revealed this week that he believes McLaren won’t be competitive until the European rounds in May:

“We won’t be as ready as we would like, but we will do our best. We have covered most of the issues, and most of the systems,” Boullier said, “The positive is everything is working, but reliability is a concern, clearly. I don’t know how long it’s going to take. I think it’s going to take a few races but at least by Europe we should be ready to be more competitive.”

Last on the time-sheets was Pastor Maldonado in the Lotus. The Venezuelan only completed 36 laps after he crashed relatively heavily at the start of the afternoon session. The car was damaged on it’s front left corner; relegating the team to the garage for the remainder of the day.

Barcelona pre-season testing day 8 time-sheets:

POS

Driver

Team

Time

Laps

1

Valtteri Bottas

Williams

1’23.063

89

2

Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari

1’23.469

129

3

Felipe Nasr

Sauber

1’24.023

159

4

Max Verstappen

Toro Rosso

1’24.527

85

5

Daniel Ricciardo

Red Bull

1’24.638

72

6

Sergio Perez

Force India

1’25.123

130

7

Nico Rosberg

Mercedes

1’25.186

148

8

Jenson Button

McLaren

1’25.327

30

9

Pastor Maldonado

Lotus

1’28.272

36

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Jordan Groves
Jordan Groves
18 years old, UK. Formula One & Formula E Correspondent for RTR Sports. Fan of Formula One, Formula E, NASCAR, IndyCar, BTCC and many more! Follow me on Twitter: @jgroves1996

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