Bottas leads final test as Maldonado crashes

2015 F1 testing

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The final pre-season test of 2015 concluded with Williams setting the fastest time at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Valtteri Bottas set a time of 1’23.063 early in the morning on super-soft tyres which remained unbeaten for the rest of the day. However that lap was 0.3 seconds slower than Nico Rosberg’s time on soft tyres set on Friday.

Rosberg was back in the Mercedes today but the team didn’t trouble the top of the times sheets, content to work on other aspects of their car, covering another two grand prix distances in the W06.

The two Red Bull teams caused a red flag apiece. Daniel Ricciardo came to a stop shortly after leaving the pits early in the day, and later on an engine problem halted Max Verstappen’s progress.

Pastor Maldonado was to blame for another interruption when he crashed the Lotus at turn four early in the afternoon. That brought the team’s pre-season testing to an end.

McLaren had a quiet start to the day as they performed “system checks” on the MP4-30. Once they got running, Jenson Button lowered their fastest time of the test to a 1’25.327 using the super-soft tyres.

At Force India Sergio Perez had his first run in the new VJM08 and it ran as reliably for him as it did for Nico Hulkenberg yesterday. Perez completed 130 laps in the car which only ran for the first time two days ago.

Driver Car Best time Laps Difference Tyres
1 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes FW37 1’23.063 89 Super-soft
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari SF15-T 1’23.469 129 0.406 Super-soft
3 Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari C34 1’24.023 159 0.960 Super-soft
4 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso-Renault STR10 1’24.527 85 1.464 Super-soft
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault RB11 1’24.638 72 1.575 Soft
6 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes VJM08 1’25.113 130 2.050 Super-soft
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes W06 1’25.186 148 2.123 Medium
8 Jenson Button McLaren-Honda MP4-30 1’25.327 30 2.264 Super-soft
9 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Mercedes E23 1’28.272 36 5.209 Medium

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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43 comments on “Bottas leads final test as Maldonado crashes”

  1. 2015 pecking order :
    Force India
    Toro Rosso

    1. I think you have Williams too low. They could (should) easily be 2nd. And Lotus could beat SFI.

      1. This is my view regarding the whole season not only one race
        I think that Williams would perform better than Ferrari and RedBull in circuits like Monza and Spa

        1. I think Williams have improved their aero quite a bit. And Bottas is ready to take it up a notch.

          1. I agree but I think their development pace wont be as rapid as RedBull and Ferrari let alone Mercedes

          2. It seemed to me that last season Williams’ development pace compared pretty favourably with both Red Bull and Ferrari.

          3. You might be right and I am just expecting :)

          4. @malik To be fair, last season William’s development rate throughout the season was one of the best on the grid – certainly better than Ferrari’s, who were more competitive at the start of the season than at the end. Ferrari have tended to bring a lot of upgrades that don’t work or correlate with the wind tunnel in recent seasons.
            Meanwhile, I think Pat Symonds said that, of all the upgrades Williams brought in 2014, only one of them didn’t work properly (I think it was a rear wing that they adjusted and made work later on anyway).

          5. @polo I agree but we have to consider that Ferrari’s power unit last year was performing poorly and Williams had the advantage of Merc engine. This year I think that Ferrari (particularly James Allison) tried to solve the problem and it seems that they are heading into the right direction

          6. @Malik I agree that Ferrari are heading in the right direction. In recent seasons I’ve always felt like Ferrari have been disorganised and on a downward spiral. This season it really seems like they have stopped the downward spiral and are on the way up again. The new leadership’s overhaul of the way the team works (restructuring and cutting down on all the politics and “blame game” approach) seems to have really made a difference to the team, and I think James Allison will now have had enough time to sort things out in the technical department and build (+develop) a good car.

    2. My 2015 pecking order:
      Red Bull
      Toro Rosso
      Force india

    3. The pecking order at the start of a season is not always as the same as the pecking order at the end of a season. So I think your prediction is more about the pecking order at the end of 2015, am I right?

      1. I just saw the current form of the teams, and looks like that. If its the same as last year, then is just a coincidence.

      2. Exactly !

    4. Mercedes
      Red Bull
      Force India
      Toro Rosso

  2. Maldonado’s first actual crash since Singapore practice?

      1. He was well overdue.

      2. @john-h even Mrs Dragoll enjoyed that website and although she has heard me talk of crashinado a lot, she isn’t a keen F1F like myself.

  3. …just when I was hoping that Maldonado had turned a new leaf. Come on Pastor, you can do it. Get some points this year. Show them you’re not just a lousy pay driver. Score some points!

    1. Lotus say it wasn’t his fault, but a brake-related issue.

      1. @Quaint…yes you are right, but he has a reputation to overcome, and things like this don’t help.

        1. And clearly you have no desire to allow him overcome that reputation, with those misleading comments.

          1. I would like to see Maldonado succeed. You mistook the tone my comments.

    2. He had already pried that, in the 2012 Spanish GP.

      And Lotus said the crash wasn’t his fault…

      1. “Proved” even

  4. Anyone reckon Lotus will have jumped McLaren this winter?

    1. I think Sauber and Toro Rosso .. and possibly Manor have jumped Mclaren this winter

  5. The Force India seems a lot more reliable than the McLaren …

    1. pastaman (@)
      1st March 2015, 18:21

      What an astute observation.

    2. That was easy to expect.
      Mercedes’s PU is ready. It works and it is reliable.

      Force India only had to put it to work with their package. A much simpler task than what Mclaren still have to do without any more testing.

  6. According to Skysports’s Twitter account,Mercedes AMG have used just ONE engine during the whole pre-season Test…I mean ONE!!!

  7. I hope that Ferrari’s performance isn’t just smoke and mirrors and we can have a good three-way fight between them, RBR and Williams. I think it’s a given that Mercedes (specifically, Hamilton. Rosberg is now basically the new Webber) will take the first place.

    It should be an interesting enough year, and improvements on the Ferrari and Williams sides should point out to an even more interesting 2017 with the new rules overhaul (I expect Mercedes i.e. Hamilton to stay on top in 2016).

    Now we just need McLaren to do something. Anything.

    1. Ferrari look like they could very well be slightly ahead of Red Bull (it’s starting to look like it will be Williams, Ferrari, Red Bull in terms of pecking order, though still very close between them).
      However, I get the feeling that Red Bull haven’t quite shown their full potential yet as they are still not fully to grips with their reliability problems. As the past has demonstrated, you can never underestimate Red Bull – it really just depends on how much progress Renault have made, as I’m sure Red Bull have made another great chassis.

      Either way, it looks like Ferrari will be closer to the front, which is good news for F1. It’s also good to see another historic name being competitive in Williams. Now we just have to see if McLaren can join in the fight as the season progresses (they certainly don’t look like they’ll be up to it for Melbourne).

      Though the season seems likely to be dominated by Mercedes again, it looks like there are some intriguing side-stories developing.

    2. I don’t believe by any means Rosberg will be a new Webber. He is much more consistent than Webber was and on a car this superior, will be there to capitalize on any mistake or misfortune on Hamilton’s part.

      As for Red Bull, if not the 2nd best team, they’re the 3rd.
      The only time they showed their hand on winter testing was 2011, where they were almost as detached from the rest as Mercedes today.

  8. Someone should hire Maldonado as a crash test dummy instead

  9. Strange that Mercedes didn’t feel the need to put on the super-softs once during the whole of winter testing. That to me shows unbelievable confidence that they will have the set up to get the tyre’s working straight out the box.

    They clearly know they have the pace in the car and that they don’t need to show it off. They’ve been sandbagging here and I expect a few jaws will drop during quali in Australia.

    1. I have to agree with that. It almost felt like Mercedes were trying to not only sandbag, but to keep the others from screaming “no fair” until it’s way too late to make any rule changes for 2016.
      I seriously wonder if they’ll even show their hand in Australia? They could do a race setup and still take 1-2 front row lockout in Q3.

  10. Williams has looked like the only team in pre season testing that can get within 0.5s of Mercedes’ qualifying time, and maybe within one sec a lap of their race pace. My guess is Bottas is going to be a regular P3 race finisher.

    I think it will be close between Red Bull and Ferrari for the 3rd fastest car.

    Currently, Mclaren would have to be dead last. Never thought that Alonso would be racing Max, Carlos and Nasr in his first race for Mclaren Honda

  11. So the main question is how big Mercedes’ advantage is? My guess is 0.8 secs. If anyone can come within 0,5 secs I’ll call it a miracle.

  12. Hmmm Button missed Kmags time by 0.1 second even though he used super soft tires (and Kmag just soft)?

    1. Were they testing the same things? Under the same conditions (eg fuel loads, motor set-up)?

      1. No, the cars had totally different specs on, not were the weather conditions the same….

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