Rosberg shows Mercedes' true pace in testing

Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:29pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Mercedes gave their rivals a morale-sapping glimpse of their true pace in Formula One testing on Friday with Nico Rosberg lapping more than a second quicker than anyone else.

After days spent pounding around on long runs with the slower medium tyres, the champions changed their focus and sent Rosberg out on softs for the first time in this year's winter testing.

The result on a sunny afternoon was both quick and crushing, with the German 1.203 seconds quicker than second-placed Finn Valtteri Bottas had managed earlier on the softs in the Mercedes-powered Williams.

The 2014 runner-up's lap time of one minute 22.792 seconds was also seven-tenths faster than Brazilian Felipe Massa managed for Williams on Thursday although the track got quicker through use.

Rosberg managed a respectable 106 laps, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel taking the honors for the most distance covered with a hefty 143.

"They are unbelievably quick," McLaren's Jenson Button, himself buoyed by completing 101 laps for his struggling team despite stopping on the track towards the end, told reporters when asked about the Mercedes pace.

Rosberg, who hands over to world champion Lewis Hamilton on Saturday, played down the car's performance however.

"Today was a difficult day to start with but ended on a positive," he said.   Continued...

Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Germany drives his car during a testing session at the Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, near Barcelona February 20, 2015.  REUTERS/Albert Gea