In the final day of the first test in Barcelona, we were finally treated to somewhat of an insight into the pace of the W06. During the final hour of running, Nico Rosberg and his Silver Arrow ascended to second on the timesheet, with a stunning lap set on the medium tyres only falling short of Romain Grosjean’s supersoft benchmark by a matter of tenths. With the past four days of running yielding another 446 laps, it is no wonder then that Rosberg is feeling confident following another productive outing.
“We have a great team now,” Rosberg told Sky Sports News HQ. “While we are keeping a close eye on the opposition because there have been some strong times from other teams and it is not clear at the moment, we are in a strong position.”
I doubt you can be part of the current Brackley squad without possessing an adept ability to downplay performance. Ultimately, the first test was all about mileage and reliability and in the second, set-up work has been the only real difference. As yet, the W06 has not turned a wheel on either the soft or supersoft compounds, which suggests to me that the team are comfortable with their short run pace and therefore, feel no need to explore this aspect of the car. That alone is somewhat ominous.
Yesterday’s pace was hugely impressive and I very much doubt that we have seen the W06 tested to the maximum just yet. I would expect to see them hit the front at some point in the final test as they will surely wish to test the systems which will be active when Qualifying in Melbourne arrives.
As it stands, I don’t think that there can be any doubt that Mercedes are leading the way – and by quite a margin.
Image Credit: "Rosberg pilots the F1 W06 Hybrid" By Michael Elleray [CC-BY-2.0]