- Barcelona Test Day Five
Rosberg leads the way on wet final dayLaurence Edmondson in Barcelona March 12, 2011 « Times don't tell the whole story - Hamilton | Lauda takes championship lead with maiden home victory »
Mercedes' Nico Rosberg finished on the top of the pile after a rain-soaked final day of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Only four teams - Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Williams - were still testing at the circuit and they were reluctant to head out in the waterlogged conditions early in the morning. By the chequered flag at 17:00 over 40 millilitres of rain had fallen since Friday, with steady rainfall throughout the day.
Times improved in the afternoon as the cars completed more running, with Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton leading the way with their lap counts of 35 and 33 respectively. Rosberg's best time of 1:43.814 was set in the final ten minutes as the Mercedes, Williams and McLaren took to the track to try to squeeze the last few figures of data out of winter testing.
Meanwhile Ferrari was in the paddock packing up, after sending Fernando Alonso out for just five laps in the morning. Even the chants of "Fernando" ringing out from the die-hard fans in the main grandstand opposite the Ferrari garage couldn't persuade the Spaniard to attempt one more run - his team clearly happy with what have been very positive pre-season preparations.
McLaren perhaps suffered the most from the poor conditions after it skipped the sunniest day of test on Thursday. But you wouldn't have guessed by Hamilton's responses to journalists questions during the afternoon session, which were on the whole very upbeat.
HRT is one team that will be cursing its luck, after the final parts of its 2011 car failed to clear customs in time for Saturday's test. Late on Friday evening the team cut its losses and left the circuit and by the morning there was no sign of the trucks or the hospitality tent in the paddock.
In the morning Schumacher signed off from pre-season testing with just five wet installation laps to his name. But after setting the fastest time at Barcelona this year on Friday morning, the seven-time champion will have plenty of good vibes to tide him over to the first race in Australia in two week's time.
The one plus side to come out of the day will be a thorough test of the full wet Pirelli tyres, which have yet to have a proper workout in winter testing. The conditions were perhaps a little too extreme for the cut rubber and the drivers had to cope with the front of the car washing wide on corner entry and then quick snaps of oversteer as they eased the power on the exit.
|1.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes W02||1:43.814||35|
|2.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams FW33||1:44.333||23||3.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren MP4-26||1:44.560||33|
|2.||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari 150||No time||5|
|3.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes W02||No time||5|
Laurence Edmondson is the deputy editor on ESPNF1
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