Finland’s Valtteri Bottas recorded the fastest time for Williams on Day Two of the second pre-season test in Barcelona as double world champions Mercedes enjoyed another promising session.
Bottas posted the fifth fastest time through six days of testing and the second quickest on the supersoft compound in 1min 23.261sec.
Two more days of testing remain in the Catalan capital before the first race of the season in Australia on March 20. “That’s it for me now for testing before we go to Melbourne. I’m feeling prepared and good in the car,” said Bottas.
“I’m glad we have made progress during testing and I’m sure we will make even more before Melbourne.”
World champion Lewis Hamilton was just over three tenths of a second back on a slower setup as he was released onto the soft tyres for the first time after piling up huge mileage in the W07.
The Englishman’s time was six tenths of a second down on the best lap posted by Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg on the soft tyres on Tuesday.
However, Hamilton was comforted by a visit from American ski speed queen Lindsey Vonn, who adorned the paddock on crutches a day after confirming her season is over due to a hairline fracture in her left knee. “The car was good, quite strong, we did some lower fuel running today but some work needs to be done balance wise,” said Hamilton.
“Getting onto the softer tyre was a good experience, but we’ve got some work to do still.”
Hamilton and Rosberg combined for another mammoth 164-lap day with the German completing a race simulation in the afternoon, albeit with only the ninth fastest lap time on the day.
Qualifying format to be decided Friday The format for a revolutionary new qualifying system for races will be decided on Friday after a meeting of the International Automo-bile Federation’s World Motor Sport Council, it was revealed on Wednesday.
A new knock-out qualifying format for the 2016 season had been adopted at a meeting of the F1 Commission last week.
However, a new meeting took place in Barcelona on Tuesday between team bosses and FIA race director Charlie Whiting after complaints were raised at the measures adopted. The idea remains to introduce more excitement to the sport after two years of domination by Hamilton’s Mercedes.
Yet, there are concerns that the technology needed to introduce the complex system, whereby the slowest driver would be knocked out at 90-second intervals, may not be ready in time for qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix on March 19.