Williams’ Felipe Massa got a flying start to the final F1 pre-season test in Barcelona on Thursday, with the Brazilian topping the session with a laptime of 1:23.500.
The 33 year old became the first driver to break the 1:24 barrier in 2015 machinery, en route to the fastest time of the day. He also lodged just over 100 laps in what was a productive day for Williams.
Marcus Ericsson continued to display Sauber’s strength in the field of reliability, lodging 122 laps before the chequered flag came out at 6pm local time. The Swede successfully completed a race simulation before coming out on supersofts to set a personal best time of 1:24.276 in the final hour of the day.
Mercedes remained eluded of bulletproof reliability with morning pace setter Lewis Hamilton having to curtail his running to just 48 laps due to ERS issues. His earlier lap time - set on the much slower medium tyres - was good enough for third in the final classifications.
Daniil Kvyat briefly stopped on track in the first hour of the day but returned later to set the fourth fastest time of the day. He did not run on the yellow striped soft tyre.
Romain Grosjean set the fifth fastest time of the day as he continued to evaluate new parts on the E23. After a disastrous 2014 campaign, both Lotus F1 drivers are cautiously optimistic about the upcoming season.
Ferrari ran trouble free for majority of the day with Raikkonen racking in 80 laps and setting the sixth quickest time of the nine hour session(excluding the lunch break).
Carlos Sainz was seventh in the timesheets while Jenson Button completed the results table. It was another disastrous day for McLaren and their engine partners Honda with an hydraulic issue to be blamed for lack of mileage on the advent of the final Barcelona test. With only three days of running before the season opener, McLaren has only 210 laps of mileage under their belt.
Force India did not run today but plan to debut their 2015 challenger tomorrow, with Nico Hulkenberg behind the wheel.