Nico Rosberg has made it back-to-back days on the top of the testing timesheets for Mercedes GP as the curtain came down on pre-season testing for the 2011 Formula 1 season. The German clocked his best lap time late in the day at a rain-soaked Circuit de Catalunya to head the timesheets from Williams rookie Pastor Maldonado.
With much of the field having packed up after Friday’s testing to get ready to travel to Australia, just four teams – Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes GP and Williams – stayed on for their final day of testing in Spain, having elected to skip one of the earlier four days’ running in exchange for being able to participate today.
And they were no doubt left questioning the wisdom of their decision, with torrential rain hitting the Montmeló on the Saturday morning and staying for several hours after the track was opened for business at 9am local time.
Conditions were so treacherous that running was limited to a series of installation laps, and Ferrari quickly elected to pack up early and head home after Fernando Alonso completed just five single-lap tours.
Michael Schumacher completed a similar number of installation checks in his Mercedes GP – with the standing water being so deep he had rooster tails of spray just trundling down the pit lane! – before he handed over to team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Eventually, Lewis Hamilton bit the bullet and attempted a flying lap before the lunch break, posting a very leisurely 1:57.765 in a sequence of laps in his McLaren MP4-26.
Conditions had eased by the middle of the afternoon, and the former World Champion set about lowering his lap time, chopping over ten seconds from it with a best time of 1:47.304.
Hamilton was eventually afforded the company of Maldonado and Rosberg on a rather quiet circuit, and Maldonado moved to the top of the timesheets with a best effort of 1:46.157, while Rosberg was lapping some 1.3 seconds slower than Hamilton to go third-quickest.
|Lewis Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado were the only other two drivers to post a lap time on a rain-hit final day.|
As conditions continued to slowly improve, the lap times for all three gradually quickened, and it was Rosberg who pulled out a last-gasp effort to edge Maldonado off the top spot on the timesheets with a best time of 1:43.814, which was half a second faster than Maldonado’s best lap, but over 20 seconds slower than the fastest time set by Schumacher the day before.
Final Barcelona Pre-Season Test (Day 5) Lap Times:
|1.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP W02||1:43.814||35|
|2.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Cosworth FW33||+ 0.519||23|
|3.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||+ 0.746||33|
|Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP W02||no time||5|
|Fernando Alonso||Ferrari F150° Italia||no time||5|