27th February- Testing results: Rosberg leads the penultimate test

Nico Rosberg in Barcelona today

Nico Rosberg in Barcelona today

Nico Rosberg finished the third day of testing in Barcelona as the fastest man on track for Mercedes GP.

For the first time of this test, rain did hamper the team’s runnings for a few hours in the afternoon, so his early time of 1.20.686 was enough to keep him ahead of Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi and Jenson Button of McLaren.

Nico was very happy with his car, saying:

"I think in general there's no absolute weakness with the car at the
moment.We just need to nail the set-up a little bit better to really
extract the maximum potential from the car, which I think we're not
quite doing yet. We're close and maybe tomorrow we can make another
step in the right direction."

Even better for the German, Mercedes have promised him and Michael Schumacher a host of new aerodynamic upgrades before the season opener in Bahrain in 2 weeks time.

"We have some upgrades here, but the big package is coming for
Bahrain - and it's going to be a big package. But I'm sure everybody
else has similar big steps, and then we just have to see where we
are."

Again, like yesterday, most drivers switched from short to long runs in the afternoon, as teams focused on race fuel loads.
There were many red flags out again today for stoppages out on track. Rosberg and Barrichello both stopped because of mechanical problems, while Buemi ran out of fuel after finishing a long-fuel simulation.
Behind the top three, it was Barrichello, Massa, Petrov, Sutil, Vettel, Trulli, Kobayashi and Glock. The Red Bull of Vettel fared poorly today, getting no running in the morning, and only completing 51 laps of 9 or 10-lap runs in the afternoon.
It was a better day for Trulli and Lotus, who completed 102 laps in total. His best lap was 9th quickest out of 11, and 4.3 seconds slower than Rosberg. On the other hand, Glock and Virgin had a very poor day. They only got in 31 laps, and the only properly fast lap was set very late in the afternoon.

Button was happy with his car, but believed more was to come, saying:

"There’s definitely more to come with this car. We went from having
high fuel in the car to going out and doing lower-fuel runs and it’s
very difficult because you haven’t done any set-up work. The day was
too short for me today, really.

Given another day of testing I know what I’d do to the car to
improve it. Hopefully Lewis will be testing a few things that are
useful tomorrow. Because to be out of the box with a package that’s
this consistent and with the pace that we’ve got, I’m very happy.

I don’t think we are at our maximum yet but we will do our best
tomorrow to get the maximum out of the car. The set-up changes the
team are thinking about for tomorrow could help us quite a lot and
improve the balance. It’s a good update but we’re not getting the
best out of it yet because we haven’t done enough laps."

Times from today:

Pos  Driver              Team         Time       Gap       Laps
 1.  Nico Rosberg        Mercedes     1m20.686s            128
 2.  Sebastien Buemi     Toro Rosso   1m21.413s  + 0.727s  106
 3.  Jenson Button       McLaren      1m21.450s  + 0.764s  105
 4.  Rubens Barrichello  Williams     1m21.975s  + 1.289s  101
 5.  Felipe Massa        Ferrari      1m22.344s  + 1.658s  115
 6.  Vitaly Petrov       Renault      1m22.523s  + 1.837s  68
 7.  Adrian Sutil        Force India  1m22.606s  + 1.920s  61
 8.  Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull     1m23.123s  + 2.437s  51
 9.  Jarno Trulli        Lotus        1m25.059s  + 4.373s  102
10.  Kamui Kobayashi     Sauber       1m26.216s  + 5.530s  105
11.  Timo Glock          Virgin       1m26.305s  + 5.619s  31

Pictures from today:

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