Bottas fastest as testing concludes in Spain

Pre-season testing is over for another year after Valtteri Bottas put Williams Martini Racing on top on day four at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The Finnish driver had a problem-free day on Sunday, completing 89 laps and posting a best time of 1m23.063s on the Supersoft Pirelli tyre during a qualifying simulation just before the lunch break. His team were also comfortable enough with their programme to wrap up their test early.

Sebastian Vettel was second quickest for Scuderia Ferrari, 0.406s behind Bottas, with the four-time World Champion completing 129 laps of the Spanish circuit.

Felipe Nasr ended the day in third position for the Sauber F1 Team, and completed a day high 159 laps, including a race simulation, ending a positive week in Spain for the Swiss outfit. His fastest time was less than a second slower than Bottas at the top.

Fourth fastest was Max Verstappen for Scuderia Toro Rosso, but an engine issue just after lunch affected his day’s running. The team worked hard to get him back out on track with just ten minutes of the day’s running to go.

Daniel Ricciardo was fifth fastest for Infiniti Red Bull Racing, with the Australian responsible for the first red flag period of the day when he ground to a halt in the pit exit with an ERS problem. He returned to the track to complete 72 laps, and ended just over 1.5 seconds adrift of the time set by Bottas.

It was another problem-free day for Sahara Force India, with Sergio Perez taking over in the VJM08 for the first time. The Mexican completed 130 laps, setting the sixth fastest time in the process.

Nico Rosberg had a quiet day for Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS, whom had topped the timing screens on days two and three, finishing down in seventh despite completing 148 laps.

Unfortunately for McLaren-Honda, Jenson Button was restricted to only 30 laps, when a sensor issue in the morning required the power unit to be removed to fix the problem, but even when it was resolved, he could not get any significant running. McLaren will arrive in Australia in less than two weeks time without completing their testing programme, having suffered issues on almost every day of testing.

The Lotus F1 Team ended at the bottom of the times on Sunday however, with Pastor Maldonado ending his day in the turn four barriers after finding his brakes compromised by a systems issue. The mechanics were not able to get him back on track before the chequered flag brought the pre-season testing season to a conclusion.

Sebastian Vettel was second on the final day of testing in Spain (Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd)
Sebastian Vettel was second on the final day of testing in Spain (Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd)

Circuit de Catalunya Pre-Season Test 3 Day 4 Times

1 77 Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams-Mercedes 1m23.063s 89
2 5 Sebastian Vettel GER Ferrari 1m23.469s 129
3 12 Felipe Nasr BRZ Sauber-Ferrari 1m24.023s 159
4 33 Max Verstappen NED Toro Rosso-Renault 1m24.527s 85
5 3 Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull-Renault 1m24.638s 72
6 11 Sergio Perez MEX Force India-Mercedes 1m25.113s 130
7 6 Nico Rosberg GER Mercedes 1m25.186s 148
8 22 Jenson Button GBR McLaren-Honda 1m25.327s 30
9 13 Pastor Maldonado VEN Lotus-Mercedes 1m28.272s 36