Rosberg fastest as final Barcelona test ends
3 March 2013 – Nico Rosberg ensured that Mercedes retained its pace-setting position on the final day of testing in Barcelona, delivering a 1:20.130 to take the week's benchmark time away from team-mate Lewis Hamilton. The German ended up 0.364 seconds clear of Fernando Alonso, while Jenson Button completed the top three.
Blue skies and warm temperatures again welcomed the field as testing drew to a close on Sunday, with seven drivers taking the opportunity to surpass the 100 lap milestone. Rosberg, whose quickest flying lap was posted on Soft tyres, capped off an ideal weekend of testing for the Mercedes squad by combining his personal best time with the most mileage of the day, finishing just one tour shy of two Spanish Grand Prix distances in the F1 W04 chassis.
Alonso was involved in a battle for the top spot with Rosberg early on, but ultimately came off second best in the Ferrari. The Spaniard, who focused on aero runs and performance work in the early hours before switching to a race simulation in the afternoon, held a gap of almost one second back to McLaren rival Jenson Button.
After initial set-up tweaks, Nico Hülkenberg was able to deliver the fourth fastest time. The Sauber driver, like most others, switched to race stints in the afternoon, but a suspected water leak compromised his efforts. Just behind, the recovered Kimi Räikkönen endured further issues in the Lotus, missing most of the morning session due to a gearbox change. However, the former World Champion bounced back to finish fifth, just ahead of Force India's Paul di Resta.
Williams duo Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas were sandwiched by Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel as the chequered flag fell, having shared the FW35 for the second day in a row. A little further back, Charles Pic put Caterham ahead of Marussia for the first time this week, eclipsing Jules Bianchi by a slender 52 thousandths of a second. Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo and Britain's Max Chilton completed the order.
Free Practice 1 for the Australian Grand Prix begins at 12.30pm local time (GMT +11) on Friday 15 March and can be tracked via the GPUpdate.net Live Report