Williams proved that they are still in competitive form as driver Valtteri Bottas clocked the fastest lap time during the second day of the final pre-testing session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain.
Bottas managed to complete 108 laps and record a best lap time of 1:23.261 aboard his Williams-Mercedes FW38 during Wednesday’s session. The Finn driver had set his fastest lap while utilizing Pirelli’s red-marked supersoft tire. Moreover, his lap time was enough to relegate Lewis Hamilton to second place.
The Mercedes driver had set the fastest lap time earlier in the morning. He had set a best lap time of 1:23.622 and completed 73 laps before handing the car over to teammate Nico Rosberg, who was more focused on doing a complete race simulation rather than clocking the fastest lap time. Rosberg completed 91 laps onboard the Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid and set a fastest lap time of 1:26.298.
Meanwhile, it seems that Kevin Magnussen is feeling good inside his Renault R.S.16. He managed to complete 126 laps and set a fastest lap time of 1:23.933. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel is right behind Magnussen at 4th place, having completed 151 laps and setting a best lap time of 1:24.611.
On Wednesday, Vettel ran a fresh power unit, and the four-time champion was relieved that there were no issues with it. And when it comes to toughest rival Mercedes, Vettel expects to find the current constructors champions in front. Nonetheless, he added, “I also see us very close to them as we’ve made a significant step forward.”
With the Melbourne race nearing, McLaren’s Jenson Button is also feeling positive about their challenger this year. The 2009 world champion said they have made a lot of progress when it comes to their car’s ability to deploy recovered energy. Nonetheless, Button admitted they still have plenty of work to do. Of the remainder of the final pre-season testing sessions, he said, “We need two clean days, lots of laps, and lots of time on new tyres to really get a good feel for the car because we’re not there yet.”
On Wednesday, Button managed to complete 121 laps and set a fastest lap time of 1:25.183, earning him a spot just below Vettel.