Nico Rosberg set a blistering pace on the final day of last week’s second pre-season test in Bahrain ahead of the start of the 2014 Formula 1 season later this month.
The German, driving for Brackley-based Mercedes, was in scintillating form to record 1.33.283 minutes, a massive 1.6 seconds quicker than any other team’s best performer.
The final pre-season test of 2014 is currently underway at the Bahrain International Circuit. The four-day test, which finishes on Sunday, offers teams and drivers a final chance to prepare before the opening Grand Prix of the season in Australia on March 16.
Despite already displaying plenty of pace around the Bahrain track – with both Lewis Hamilton and Rosberg setting fast times last week – the German played down his team’s performance and feels it’s too early to judge.
He said: “The feeling is positive. We’re looking quite good, even on pace, but I don’t want to say more than that because I don’t know myself yet.”
The Silverstone-based Sahara Force India team, with drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, have also been fast with their Mercedes-powered VJM07 car and will again be in action this weekend.
In contrast, the part Bicester-based Toro Rosso team have so far this year found the going tough. A switch to Renault engines has left the team with some development issues, but Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat are confident of making their Red Bull-sponsored car competitive.
Kvyat said: “I am really looking forward to the test and the chance to drive more laps in the 2014 Toro Rosso. I want to be as competitive as possible before we reach Australia.
“I’m really looking forward to my first season of Grand Prix racing.”
Last season’s champions, Red Bull, meanwhile, have struggled for pace so far, with many tipping Mercedes as the 2014 title favourites.
Speaking after his impressive performance in testing last week, Lewis Hamiltin said: “It was nice to put together a lap, but it’s difficult to know where everyone is. We won’t know where we stand until we get to Melbourne.”