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Nico Rosberg fastest in Barcelona as Mercedes finally shows F1 qualifying pace

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Nico Rosberg fastest in Barcelona as Mercedes finally shows F1 qualifying pace
Mar 1, 2016, 6:37 PM

Nico Rosberg set the fastest time on the opening day of the second Formula 1 pre-season test as Mercedes finally opted to focus on qualifying perfo...

Nico Rosberg set the fastest time on the opening day of the second Formula 1 pre-season test as Mercedes finally opted to focus on qualifying performance.

Rosberg set a time of 1m23.022s shortly before the lunch break using the soft compound tyre, the first time in testing that Mercedes had used anything other than the medium Pirelli rubber.

The German driver then handed over to Lewis Hamilton for the afternoon session, where the world champion was sixth fastest after completing another race distance stint using three sets of the medium tyre.

Nico Rosberg

After his half-day in the W07, Rosberg explained that the team had taken the car to the limit for the first time after focusing on reliable running throughout the last test.

He said: "We were doing qualifying practice this morning. It's all the more enjoyable, to take the car to the limit.

"We did some fuel-light runs, which was nice for me to push some more. We got down to some decent laptimes. It was a good feeling."

Lewis Hamilton

Rosberg’s time on the soft tyres was just over two tenths of a second slower than the fastest overall time from the first test, set by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel on the ultrasoft tyre.

Between them, Rosberg and Hamilton completed another 172 laps for Mercedes, the most of any team, 82 for the former and 90 for the latter.

Valtteri Bottas clocked 1m23.229s using the ultrasoft tyre to finish second fastest for Williams. The Finnish driver completed 123 laps and was the only other driver to break into the 1m23s bracket.

Valtteri Bottas

McLaren bounced back from a disappointing end to the first test as Fernando Alonso was third quickest in the MP4-31. The Spanish driver completed 93 laps but did cause a red flag when he stopped at the pit exit because of a telemetry problem moments before the lunch break.

Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest on a low-key day for Ferrari with a time of 1m24.836s, which he managed on the medium compound. That effort was fractionally faster than the best time on the same tyre from the first test, which was Rosberg’s 1m24.867s.

However, the 2007 world champion did bring out the red flags early in the afternoon when his SF16-H stopped on the pit straight and did not reappear for almost two hours.

Kimi Raikkonen

Daniil Kvyat was fourth quickest for Red Bull, but the Russian driver also lost several hours as the team was forced to fix an issue with the rear-brake casing that caused a small fire during the morning session.

Max Verstappen was seventh quickest in the now 2016-liveried Toro Rosso, as the Dutch driver racked up 144 laps, the most of any one driver.

Nico Hulkenberg ended the day eighth for Force India, just ahead of Felipe Nasr, who managed 103 laps on the first day on-track for Sauber’s new C35.

Felipe Nasr

Kevin Magnussen completed 119 laps as he rounded out the top ten for Renault, 2.7s slower than Rosberg’s best time. The Danish driver brought out the red flags ten minutes before the end of the day when he stopped his RS16 at Turn 3.

Esteban Gutierrez was 11th fastest on a disappointing day for Haas F1, which was forced to abandon its running after just 23 laps due to a fuel system problem.

Rio Haryanto was 12th and last after 45 laps for Manor on a 1m27.625s, but the Indonesian driver did not run during most of the morning session due to an oil leak.

Rio Haryanto

Results: Barcelona test two, day one:

1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m23.022s, 82 laps

2 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m23.229s +0.207s, 123 laps

3 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1m24.735s +1.713s, 93 laps

4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m24.836s +1.814s, 72 laps

5 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1m25.049s +2.027s, 69 laps

6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m25.051s +2.029s, 90 laps

7 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1m25.176s +2.154s, 144 laps

8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m25.336s +2.314s, 121 laps

9 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1m25.493s +2.471s, 103 laps

10 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1m25.760s +2.738s, 119 laps

11 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 1m26.661s +3.639s, 23 laps

12 Rio Haryanto Manor 1m27.625s +4.603s, 45 laps

What do you make of Mercedes' running today? Has the team finally shown its hand in 2016? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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