Teams end final session of pre-season F1 testing before first race

Williams post fastest time of the day with just two weeks until Australian Grand Prix takes place.

BARCELONA, SPAIN (MARCH 1, 2015)(FOM) – Formula One wrapped up pre-season testing on Sunday (March 1) with Valtteri Bottas top of the timesheets for Williams while champions Mercedes looked forward with optimism to Australia.

With the opening race in Melbourne now only two weeks away on March 15, teams carried out a mixture of quick laps and long runs at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Bottas, who could be the biggest rival to the Mercedes duo of double world champion Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, chalked up the quickest lap of one minute 23.063 seconds on super-soft tyres.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was second quickest and Ferrari-powered Sauber’s Brazilian rookie Felipe Nasr was third and did the most laps — a hefty 159.

“It’s now the first of March so in two weeks we know a little bit more I think,” said Vettel about the opposition. “It’s clear that Mercedes is in front after that there seems to be a gap. Then it seems to be a lot closer with many teams, it is difficult to say who is right behind. But I think it is very close between Williams, Red Bull, ourselves – that’s at least how it looks.”

Rosberg, who will be aiming to wrest the title off his team mate this season, was only seventh fastest but did 130 laps and sounded confident.

“I am overall very happy with the car, the performance and everything you know,” the German driver said. “The team has done a great job again so we are in a good position but it is now the fine tuning you know and I still need to nail it. But I think I know what we need to do now, we know what we need to do and for Melbourne it will be fine.”

McLaren endured another difficult afternoon, with Britain’s Jenson Button completing just 30 laps, while Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado crashed his Lotus into the barriers after 36 laps.

“The lack of mileage means we won’t be as ready as we’d have liked,” McLaren’s racing director Eric Boullier said.

Rookie Max Verstappen drove his Toro Rosso to post the fourth quickest time of the day.

“We did a lot of useful set-up work today, and also for me was very useful. So all in all I think we had a great test week again and of course you never know where you are on the grid for Melbourne so we just have to wait and see,” the 17 year-old Netherlands driver said.