Lewis Hamilton proved Mercedes will be one of the teams to beat in Melbourne in two weeks time as he led the final day of testing in Bahrain.
After missing much of the morning following a gearbox problem, the 2008 world champion came out strong in the afternoon – rounding the day off by posting a 1:33.278 - all but matching his team-mate Nico Rosberg’s best.
The fastest time posted during the week belongs to Williams after Felipe Massa’s 1:33.258 on Saturday and the Grove based team proved it was no flash in the pan as their second driver Valtteri Bottas finished second, also breaking the 1:34 barrier.
The final time of note came from Fernando Alonso as he gave a hint of what the Ferrari could do whilst setting the team’s best time of the test - 1:34.280.
As was the case throughout much of the week, the focus was on completing long runs on high fuel – not only to add mileage to the engine but also work out fuel rates and strategies.
Today that proved particularly tricky, however, as eight red flags meant an additional 25 minutes was added to the day in a bid to help teams complete their programmes.
The constant stoppages didn’t stop Sauber, however, as they shared the driving duties between their drivers, Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez.
The end result was - despite causing one of the red flags after running out of fuel - the Swiss team completed a mammoth 177 laps on the day proving the reliability of the Ferrari V6 power unit is certainly well up there with Mercedes.
Two other teams passed the century mark on the final day as Williams continued the strong reliability seen by the FW36 as Bottas completed 108 laps.
In fact, so good was the Williams, that the only stoppage it had throughout the entire three tests was within the final hour of today after its engine failed after reaching its mileage limit.
Caterham too continued to be the most active of the Renault-powered teams, completing 106 laps with Kamui Kobayahsi behind the wheel.
Force India and McLaren also had a similar issue as Williams, running their Mercedes units until it expired of high-usage while Lotus’ day was brought to an abrupt and fiery end after engine trouble struck the E22.
It ends a poor final test for Lotus, whose decision to miss the opening test in Jerez seems to have backfired.
Their expected lead driver Romain Grosjean admitted later the team is not ready for Melbourne.
Fellow strugglers Red Bull had a better final day. Sebastian Vettel was hardly a prevalent runner and he did cause a red flag at the end of the morning after some sort of failure at the front of the car left him spinning off at turn one.
The German did manage 77 laps, however, which is a personal best for the RB10, and with a filming day planed for Monday, they will get an extra 100km running before Australia.
What will disappoint Vettel, however, is the speed of the Red Bull.
Indeed, despite improving late on as the sun set, Max Chilton was able to beat him in the Marussia as the Briton finished the day seventh overall - six tenths ahead of the world champion.
Toro Rosso was ahead of their big brothers as Vergne completed 74 laps finishing fifth overall, though Daniel Ricciardo’s best from Friday does mean the RB10 has set the fastest time of the two Mateschitz backed teams.
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