Massa positive after final winter testing run for Williams

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Felipe Massa is feeling positive about the new Formula 1 season after completing his final test running of pre-season in Barcelona today.

The Brazilian driver sat on top of the timesheets for most of the third day of the final test, but was eventually beaten by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

Running on the soft tire, Hamilton managed to edge out Massa by two-tenths of a second despite the Williams driver using the quicker super-soft compound.

Nevertheless, Massa was happy with his final run of pre-season, believing that the reliability of the FW37 car has been particularly impressive over the winter.

“We had another good day with over 100 laps completed,” Massa said. “We reached the end of the programme in good time and the car has remained very reliable over all three tests.

“Our long runs look positive and the car remains consistent throughout the stints. We are not the only quick car on the track though and the fight behind Mercedes will be interesting.

“I now have to get ready for the first race of the season in Melbourne, which I am really looking forward to.”

Massa will hand the reins of the FW37 over to teammate Valtteri Bottas for the final day of testing in Barcelona on Sunday.

Williams’ performance over the winter has certainly been impressive, with the team consistently featuring towards the top of the timesheets in Barcelona. However, it remains to be seen whether it can make a step forward in 2015 as it bids to cut the gap to Mercedes at the front of the field.

Valtteri Bottas fastest in Friday F1 practices for Russian Grand Prix

F1 Sochi Valtteri Bottas
Dan Mullan/Getty Images
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SOCHI, Russia — Valtteri Bottas paced both F1 practices Friday for the Russian Grand Prix on Friday as Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton was slowed by damaged tires in the first session.

Bottas turned a fast lap of 1 minute, 33.519 seconds in the second session that bettered Hamilton’s 1:33.786.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was more than a second behind Bottas in third at 1:34.577, followed by the McLaren Racing duo of Carlos Sainz Jr. (1:34.723) and Lando Norris (1:34.847).

In the first F1 session at Sochi, Valtteri Bottas set the pace with a time of 1 minute, 34.923 seconds, beating Ricciardo by half a second. Max Verstappen was third quickest in his Red Bull, a further 0.147 back.

Hamilton could only manage 19th fastest after locking up his tires and leaving them with a flat spot. Ferrari again struggled to find pace with Sebastian Vettel ninth and Charles Leclerc 11th.

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The first session was briefly red-flagged when Nicholas Latifi crashed his Williams. Carlos Sainz Jr. spun his McLaren backward into a barrier and broke off his rear wing.

Verstappen spun during the second session but avoided damage to his car.