McLaren’s continuing struggle with the new Honda power unit in the MP4-29H car were the biggest headline on the final day of testing at Abu Dhabi, while Mercedes test driver Pascal Wehrlein topped the charts to bookend a remarkable season for the silver arrows.
Wehrlien who was making his track debut in the Mercedes W05 delivered a dominant display in which he managed a respectable 96 laps while on his way to a time that was about 0.7s faster than WIlliams driver Bottas managed on Tuesday.
A number of new faces were in attendance along the pitlane including highly rated 19 year old Raffaele Marciello, the reigning F3 champion at Ferrari who will be hopeful of a race seat in 2016 – possibly as part of the Ferrari supported Gene Haas team.
Verstappen had a more positive day in the Toro Rosso, managing 78 laps on his way to the third quickest time while Sauber managed 5th place with new driver Marcus Ericsson in the seat for the second day running.
Will Stevens in the Caterham was much closer to the lead pace than on Tuesday in front of 2014 sensation Daniel Ricciardo.
At the back of the grid, Lotus gave time to bot Lyn and Ocon with Lyn recording the better time of the two drivers.
McLaren’s difficult test continued. Once again Vandoorne was late onto the track, and managed just 2 laps before his Power Unit spooled down and he crawled back to the pits.
Racing Director Eric Boullier was positive about the day, saying that the team had learned plenty about their new relationship with Honda despite the lack of running.
It’s widely rumoured that the Honda engine could achieve some degree of parity with the Mercedes, so interest in the team’s performance was higher than usual fro the time of year.
Both sessions were interrupted by red flags including one for Daniel Ricciardo who was left teaching for a afire extinguisher as flames licked around the rear of his car.