Rosberg fastest but says Mercedes have more to do

Tue Mar 1, 2016 2:26pm EST
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BARCELONA (Reuters) - Nico Rosberg gave a hint of Mercedes' true speed on Tuesday, with the fastest time on the first day of Formula One's final pre-season test, and then said there was still room for improvement.

It was the first time in 2016 testing that the world champions had led the timesheets at the end of the day and Rosberg was not even using the quickest tyres to go faster than everyone else.

The German lapped the Circuit de Catalunya with a best time of one minute 23.022 seconds after using soft tyres for the first time this year.

He was two tenths of a second faster than Valtteri Bottas (1:23.229) who was using the ultra-soft tyres on his Mercedes-powered Williams.

"Today in particular we tried qualifying (simulations), to see where the one-lap limit is," Rosberg told the website.

"It was riding on full attack on low fuel - and that felt super...even if I have to say that there is still room for improvement."

McLaren's Fernando Alonso was third fastest, 1.7 seconds slower than Rosberg in a turn-up for the team after a nightmare 2015 season, while Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was fourth in 1:24.836.

However, the Finn suffered a gearbox problem in another worrying sign for Ferrari that reliability could be a weak spot this season.

"Obviously, it could be slightly better at this point but it's testing and the purpose of testing is to try things," said the 2007 champion. "If something breaks and we have an issue, we can fix it, we still have time... So am I concerned? Not really."   Continued...

Formula One - Barcelona tests - Barcelona-Catalunya racetrack, Montmelo, Barcelona, Spain - 1/3/16.Mercedes F1 driver Nico Rosberg takes a curve. REUTERS/Albert Gea