It’s the final test – yes, it’s actually happening! Just two more weeks until the new season begins in Melbourne. So what exactly happened on the final day of the test? Our man’s last day inside the paddock provided the answers…
With eleven days gone and just one left to run, it was the final chance for Formula 1’s nine teams to test out their machines ahead of the new season. McLaren endured another tough morning, appearing only very briefly in the morning’s session. Lengthy systems checks kept Button in the pits for several hours, and when he did emerge, it was only for two installation laps.
Daniel Ricciardo brought out the first red flag of the day when he stopped just after the pit lane. The stricken Red Bull was pretty close to home, so instead of dispatching a flat-bed truck for him, the Red Bull mechanics sauntered down to the RB11 and wheeled him back for more running.
Nico Rosberg headed the timing screens during the first couple of hours, setting several fastest laps on the Medium tyres. This all changed when Valtteri Bottas fitted a set of Super soft tyres, and set what would become the fastest time of the day, a 1.23:063.
Sergio Perez finally got to sit behind the wheel of the new Force India VJM08, and turned out an impressive 130 laps, bringing Force India’s total over just two and a half days to 365 – just 15 laps shy of McLaren, (79 in Jerez, 124 in Barcelona and 177 in Barcelona II) who have run in all three tests.
Felipe Nasr was also busy on Sunday, racking up 159 laps in the vibrant blue and yellow Sauber, two laps more than the previous best for a day’s running, which was previously held by Nico Hulkenberg.
Pastor Maldonado brought out another red flag; a braking failure caused him to hit the wall at Turn 4, ripping the front-left wheel off the car. He was due to perform some low-fuel runs later on, hence he propped up the board without them.
The season kicks off in just two weeks in Mebourne.
Times from day 4
1 BOTTAS, Williams, 1.23:063 (89 Laps)
2 VETTEL, Ferrari, 1.23:469 (129 Laps)
3 NASR, Sauber, 1.24:023 (159 Laps)
4 VERSTAPPEN, Toro Rosso 1.24:52, (85 laps)
5 RICCIARDO, Red Bull, 1.24:638 (72 laps)
6 PEREZ, Force India, 1.25:113 (130 laps)
7 ROSBERG, Mercedes, 1.25:186 (148 laps)
8 BUTTON, McLaren, 1.25:327 (30 Laps)
9 MALDONADO, Lotus, 1.28:272 (36 laps)