D he eleven Formula 1 teams saved the best for the last of a total of 15 days of testing. In Barcelona, almost all the pilots put their cards on the table for the grand finale. The chase for the fastest time led to an incredibly close class, in which eight drivers from seven teams were within half a second. The fans can look forward to an exciting start to the season in Bahrain.
McLaren fast and reliable
With a time of 1: 20.472 stood on End of Lewis Hamilton at the top of the tableau. As in the previous two tests in Jerez, McLaren secured the fastest time of the week. Hamilton drove the fastest of his total of 135 laps in the morning and showed that McLaren can be expected from the start of this year.
The lead over the competition could hardly be narrower. Mark Webber, who took over Sebastian Vettel's cockpit in the afternoon, was just 24 thousandths behind the 2008 world champion in second place. Vettel had already presented a good time in the morning. Two tenths behind, however, only meant fifth place for the German in the narrow field.
Ferrari just missed the fastest time
In addition to Red Bull and McLaren Ferrari also played with the muscles again. Felipe Massa was in Barcelona for the first time on Sunday with little fuel and only missed Hamilton's target by 67 thousandths. Even if it wasn't quite the best time with little fuel, Ferrari was at least able to impress the competition with consistently fast long runs.
Adrian Sutil also caused some astonished looks on Sunday afternoon. To everyone's surprise, the Force India driver was able to keep track of the times in the qualifying trim with the four big teams. In the end, the Graefelfinger was only one and a half tenths short of the top, which meant fourth place in the daily standings. So far, Force India had hardly appeared in the tests. After the peak of Sutil you have to have the small team on the bill at least for a point place.
Schumacher behind Sutil and Vettel
Beside Sutil and Vettel was also a third German in action with Michael Schumacher. Like the others, Mercedes GP also tested with little fuel in the morning. The result was a time of 1: 20.745 minutes. At 27The record world champion was not far from the top. Given the narrow gaps, however, it meant 'only' sixth place in the classification.
Only a tenth behind, Schumacher's former team-mate Rubens Barrichello also proved that the two veterans are far from old. The Brazilian confirmed the good impression that Nico Hülkenberg made with his best time on Friday, and was almost four tenths behind in seventh place.
Sauber is fighting for championship points
But not all of the favorites for the season opener have been named: Sauber would also like to have a say about the scoring. Kamui Kobayashi was just 44 hundredths behind the weekly best, also in impressive form. The average times of the racing simulations are also quite remarkable.
The first smaller gap then formed behind the Japanese. Sebastien Buemi was only ninth, 1.6 seconds behind, but the day before, the Swiss had already proven that he can drive at least half a second faster. Even the experts were impressed by the long runs of the small Red Bull sister team.
Renault only leaves Lotus and Virgin behind
In contrast, it was not very impressive the idea of Renault. In Jerez, the black and yellow cars were able to keep up with the pace of the leaders. In Barcelona, however, Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov stayed a long way from McLaren, Ferrari & Co.
Only the two newcomers to the Formula 1 field are currently worse. At the big test final, Lotus showed once again that they are probably ahead in the duel with Virgin. Heikki Kovalainen was barely a second ahead of competitor Lucas di Grassi. With more than 4.5 seconds behind, both cars are still a long way from the rest of the Formula 1 field. It doesn't seem to fit in terms of reliability either. With 65 (Lotus) and 49 (Virgin) laps, both were clearly behind the daily record of Hamilton (134).