Ferrari backed up its early promise in pre-season testing by ending the second week at Barcelona a comfortable favourite for the start of the new Formula One season.
With teams packing up and heading home before the opening race in Australia on March 17, the evidence from eight days at Circuit de Catulunya suggested the Prancing Horse boast superior pace to champions Mercedes.
With the first race of the season set to get under way in two weeks, we take a look at how each team fared in Spain.
Drivers: Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc
The speed of the Scuderia was impressive over the past two weeks and the Italian marque look to have made a considerable jump again from this time 12 months ago. They have no issue clocking up the laps, with Vettel setting a new lap record on the final day – a stunning 1:16:221. But whether they can continue to carry this form into Melbourne and beyond remains to be seen. With Vettel determined to atone for last season’s errors and Leclerc eager to prove his class, the foundations are built for a fantastic championship battle.
Drivers: Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas
Laps completed: 1,190
Victims of their own high standards at times. The Silver Arrow completed 1,190 laps over the two weeks – a total of 18 grand prix distances – and introduced a heavily revised aerodynamic package for week two. In terms of performance, they are not too far behind Ferrari, but finished firmly second. Hamilton was just 0:00:003 seconds off Vettel’s fastest lap and believes he’ll make more progress by sifting through the data and seeing what improvements are needed before March 17. Ferrari look to have gained strong understanding of their machines, but the Mercedes technical team have shown before how well they can respond to challenges.
Drivers: Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly
Laps completed: 833
One of the enigmas of testing. With Verstappen restricted to just 29 laps on the final day due to gearbox failure and Gasly crashing out, they were unable to push the new Renault engine to the absolute limit. Small errors that cost the team valuable track time to collect data and information. And despite Verstappen finishing fifth slowest, he should still be threatening for a podium finish come Australia. Overall, Red Bull have made significant strides with the new engine and the package looks tasty. A positive start.
Drivers: Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg
Laps completed: 961
The French manufacturer made promising gains on the engine side, but need to be more consistent on speed. If Renault can prioritise its power unit development then they could push for a first podium since the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2011. Hulkenberg himself finished fifth fastest for the entire test, just behind Mercedes and Ferrari drivers. And in Ricciardo, they possess a driver with buckets of experience at the front of the grid from his halcyon days at Red Bull. An exciting partnership who can bring glory back to Oxfordshire.
Drivers: Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen
Laps completed: 871
Very impressive package and flying below the radar ahead of the new campaign. In terms of pace, the car looked really sharp, with only a few tenths separating them from their other midfield rivals. The American outfit finished seventh in the standings for laps completed. They produced positive performance on the final day, which saw them amass 167 laps, and Magnussen set a personal best time of 1:17:565. Should challenge at the top of the midfield.
Drivers: Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi
Laps completed: 922
Hit their potential in week one, extracting more from the package, but levelled off as the days progressed. The car doesn’t look perfect on track, but the drivers are positive, with Raikkonen’s time of 1:17:239 ranked 13th best across the two weeks. There is good development potential and should aim to be best of the rest this year.
Drivers: Daniil Kvyat and Alexander Albon
Laps completed: 935
A lot of changes behind the scenes for Toro Rosso with technical director James Key leaving for McLaren. Should start reasonable well despite rear end limitations. Albon and Kvyat impressed with sixth and seventh fastest times respectively.
Drivers: Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll
Laps completed: 625
A vanilla car. It wasn’t a convincing showing in Spain and not a huge amount of pace was recorded either. But then again if it is just about learning the ropes first, then they should be encouraged. They have an excellent technical team so there should be plenty to build on as the season wears on.
Drivers: Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz
Laps completed: 873
The car looks a little unstable, but the Woking team completed more laps over the two weeks in Barcelona than they ever managed before. In fact, they even topped the time-sheets on two of the eight days with Sainz finishing seventh quickest overall.
Drivers: George Russell and Robert Kubica
Laps completed: 567
Appear to be struggling after missing the first two days of testing. They were slow to get going and were missing car parts – completing just 567 laps – half the number recorded by Mercedes. To highlight how far behind they are, Russell’s best lap was three tenths of a second slower than Lance Stroll’s 1:17:556 at Racing Point. Kubica also admitted he knows only 20 per cent of the things he should know about the car ahead of Melbourne Grand Prix. It’s a long road ahead.
Know more about Sport360 Application