Mercedes set the pace in Barcelona

Pascal Wehrlein drove for both Mercedes and Force India during last week's pre-season F1 test in Spain
Pascal Wehrlein drove for both Mercedes and Force India during last week's pre-season F1 test in Spain

Brackley-based Mercedes set the pace at the second pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.

Although they didn’t top the timesheets, Mercedes’ on-track strength was clear with Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and youngster Pascal Wehrlein at the wheel.

Wehrlein, the Mercedes-Benz test and reserve driver, was busy throughout the test as he also drove for Silverstone-based Sahara Force India, as well as Mercedes.

Starting the opening day for Force India, Wehrlein was called back to his parent team after Hamilton pulled out on day one due to illness.

The German said: “I was expecting to drive the Force India car for a couple of days, and was pleased to be able to fill in for Mercedes as well. The new car feels very good indeed and I believe it’s true pace will be see over the next test and then in Australia.”

Hamilton, once back on-track, and Rosberg were full of praise for the car ahead of next month’s season-opening race in Australia.

Rosberg said: “The car seems to have good potential and although it is very early to say how good this car actually is, it certainly has the feel of the 2014 World Championship-winning car.”

The part Bicester-based Scuderia Toro Rosso team clocked up many laps during the four-day test with their new Renault-engined car.

Both Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. were on hand to drive, with Sainz saying: “The car feels good and at this time of the year it is all about finding reliability and being able to test everything possible to ensure good pace come the first race of the season.”

The Sahara Force India team used their old VJM07 car during the test for drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. The team will use their new 2015-specification VJM08-Mercedes in the final pre-season test that takes place this weekend.

Perez added: “It is important for us to get to drive the new car in anger before the start of the season. It appears to be good and I hope it drives as well as it looks.”