Date: 23rd February 2015 at 8:37am
Written by:

Pastor Maldonado and Lotus topped a second day of testing in Barcelona, showing off the true potential of their new Mercedes powered car.

The team ditched Renault at the end of the 2014 Formula One World Championship, switching to Mercedes power.

The Enstone team had struggled throughout 2014, but 2015 is already looking promising with the new Lotus not only showing good pace by setting the fastest time for a second time in three days. But also completing good mileage with Maldonado completing 104 laps en route to setting his time of 1minute 24.348s.

?We achieved a lot today and it was great to complete so many laps and end the day as the fastest car,? said Maldonado to

?Certainly, I feel much more confident in the E23 and we?re learning a lot about it with all the laps we?re completing. I?m able to push when needed and everything about the whole package feels a lot more together than last year, especially if you remember where we were in terms of performance and reliability during the pre-season in 2014.

?We still have a lot of work to do, but we?re making very good progress so we?re all very positive about the work being done.?

It was also a good day for 17-year-old rookie driver Max Verstappen who completed 129 laps for Toro Rosso and was within half a second of Maldonado’s time.

Toro Rosso?s chief race engineer Phil Charles told the media after the days session: We worked with many different tyre types today, which was useful for Max, He did a mix of short and long runs and practiced various race procedures that are new to him, including ?lift off?, the technique for saving fuel during periods of a Grand Prix. He also had plenty of pit stop practice and that?s what caused him to stop just before the end of the day, as the clutch had had enough.?

It was however another poor day for McLaren Honda.

They have struggled to get over a problem with a seal in the MGU-K element of the Honda power unit and so were forced to run lower power laps.

Unofficial Saturday testing times from Barcelona:
1. Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, 1m 24.348s
2. Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, 1m24.739s
3. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1m26.076s
4. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1m 26.340s
5. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1m 26.407s
6. Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, 1m 26.589s
7. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1m 26.912s
8. Pascal Wehrlein, Force India, 1m 27.333s
9. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1m 27.556s
10. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1m 29.151s