GEARING FOR MONACO: Can Mercedes' Nico Rosberg earn a Monaco GP hat trick on May 24? Image: AP / Luca Bruno
BARCELONA, Spain - Nico Rosberg followed up his 2015 Spanish GP victory by stepping back into his Mercedes on Tuesday (May 12) for another 146 laps of the Catalunya circuit in F1's first in-season test of the year.
Rosberg was, unsurprisingly, the fastest of the nine race and test drivers on track with a lap of 1min24.374. Only tail-ender Manor Marussia did not take part in the tests.
His schedule included set-up work for the 2015 Monaco GP on May 24 - a home race he won in 2013 and 2014 - the evaluation of new parts and some tyre work for Pirelli.
PREPARING FOR MONACO
Rosberg, 20 points behind team mate and current F1 champion Lewis Hamilton after five of 2015's 19 races, said: "Today was a great test day. The track was a little quicker than over the race weekend and we did many laps, so I'm a bit tired - but it's my only test during the season so it's important.
"The last sector at Catalunya has a lot of tight corners so it's like Monaco in a way, which is useful. The car felt very good so I'm feeling optimistic and ready for the next race."
Sauber's Marcus Ericsson was second fastest (1min26.624) with only five regular race drivers in action. Ferrari had test driver Raffaele Marciello in its car; McLaren, propping up the time sheets, tested with Briton Oliver Turvey who was held up by some sensor issues in the morning but had a trouble-free afternoon working on a suspension programme.
Jenson Button, who complained about the car's 'scary' handling during the previous weekend's race, will be behind the wheel today (May 13 2015).
Nick Yelloly moved from simulator to track to make his F1 test debut with Force India and completed 109 laps.
Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 Formula 1 series.