Rosberg snuck in a quick lap before the rain hit

After Michael Schumacher had talked down Mercedes GP’s prospects in the opening rounds of the 2010 championship, team-mate Nico Rosberg has delivered more encouraging news with the fastest time on the penultimate day of pre-season testing.

The German set the quickest time of the session at the Circuit de Catalunya – a 1:20.686 – early in the day’s running before a series of showers lashed the circuit, much to the frustration of the teams present.

When conditions eased and the track dried out, Nico managed to get close to his quickest time, but not beat it.

Having also snuck his quick laps in before the rain hit, Sébastien Buemi was the second-quickest driver for Toro Rosso.

Many of the eleven driver on track spent most of the day practicing race simulations and longer runs, and only opted for low-fuel sprints in the dying minutes of the day’s proceedings.

In this late burst of activity, Jenson Button vaulted to third-quickest in his McLaren, ahead of Rubens Barrichello (Williams) and Felipe Massa (Ferrari)

Vitaly Petrov was the sixth-quickest driver in the Renault, followed by Force India’s Adrian Sutil.

Lotus completed a promising 102 laps’ running with Jarno Trulli at the wheel, who managed to leapfrog Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber – the Japanese driver was mired in the timesheets having spent all day on long runs.

A fuel leak cost Virgin more precious on-track time, and confined Timo Glock to the bottom of the timesheets and overall lap count tally as well.

Saturday’s testing times:

1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:20.686 (128 laps)
2. Sébastien Buemi Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:21.413 (106)
3. Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes 1:21.450 (105)
4. Rubens Barrichello Williams Cosworth 1:21.975 (101)
5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:22.344 (115)
6. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:22.523 (68)
7. Adrian Sutil Force India Mercedes 1:22.606 (61)
8. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault 1:23.123 (51)
9. Jarno Trulli Lotus Cosworth 1:25.059 (102)
10. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari 1:25.216 (105)
11. Timo Glock Virgin Racing Cosworth 1:25.305 (31)

[Image via ITV-F1]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.