FASTEST AT CATALUNYA: Williams emerged as the fastest car on the F1 grid following pre-season testing at at Catalunya racetrack in Spain. Image: AP/ Manu Fernandez
BARCELONA, Spain - Formula 1 wrapped up pre-season testing on Sunday (March 1) with Valtteri Bottas top of the time sheets for Williams and Mercedes looked forward to the upcoming 2015 Australian GP on March 15.
Ahead of the season-opening race in Melbourne, teams carried out a mixture of quick laps and long runs at the Catalunya circuit near Barcelona Spain.
Bottas, who could be the closest rival to Mercedes' drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, drove the quickest lap of 1min23.063 on super-soft tyres.
Bottas, whose car is powered by the same engine as Mercedes, said: "It was a really good day and a great way to finish the test. One of the main points we have learned is that the FW37 is very reliable. The car we are taking to Melbourne is very competitive and should make for an interesting start to the season.
"We've made the most of our testing."
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was second-quickest and Ferrari-powered Sauber rookie Felipe Nasr third - as well as doing the most laps - 159.
Rosberg was only seventh-fastest but did 130 laps and sounded confident: "Today was a good day and, overall, that was a very interesting test here. I did a long run at the end today on the soft tyres, which was OK. In Melbourne we will have the soft tyre and it will be a challenge to manage them well, so we need to look at that.
"After this test, though, we can be happy. The team did a fantastic job. Thanks to everybody, who was involved in the development of the car. We are very optimistic."
McLaren endured another difficult afternoon with Jenson Button completing only 30 laps.
McLaren's racing director Eric Boullier said: "The lack of mileage means we won't be as ready as we'd have liked. Even if it's likely to be a difficult start to the season, we know we can develop hard and fast and that we'll surely unlock the huge potential that lies within the McLaren-Honda MP4-30."
Pastor Maldonado crashed his Lotus into a barrier after 36 laps.