It was the grand finale of the pre-season programme today, as drivers and cars took to the track for the final time before the 2015 curtain-raiser at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne. As teams looked to finesse their 2015 challengers, Valtteri Bottas ended a positive period of testing for Williams on a high, as a supersoft run took the Finn to the top of the timesheet. However, Mercedes were certainly not chasing times today – an ominous statement in itself. They know that pace is readily available in the W06 and few pundits will be able to look past the Mercedes duo to take the spoils of victory down-under.
While it was Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen who locked horns in the duel of the supersoft runners yesterday, Williams and Ferrari continued the trend today, but this time, Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel were the respective representatives. Despite fielding different challengers, the outcome was the same – Williams ahead of Ferrari, this time by a more convincing margin.
However, Nico Rosberg’s 1:22.792 has remained as the best time we have seen in Barcelona this pre-season, set on the soft compound tyre. The fact that Mercedes did not feel the need to fit the supersoft compound in testing is a bold statement and they are evidently happy with the package, as Rosberg’s anonymity today would demonstrate. Mercedes’ mission today was a stealthy one but, I feel that the cat is already out of the bag. The W06 is the class of the field and has been since it rolled out of the garage and completed 151 laps back on the opening day in Jerez.
For a full round up of the day’s action, check out my latest article for GP Right Now:
With just two weeks to go before the first round of the 2015 season, my season preview articles will commence shortly, as I review pre-season testing, take a look at the potential pecking order, plus a whole lot more insight and opinion.
The first Weekend Preview of 2015 will be published on Wednesday 11th March.
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