The F1 Test Days have finished today, Friday, at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with a last day filled with surprises. Ferrari recorded again the fastest lap time of the day, Mercedes completed more than 200 problem-free laps, and the Spaniards Fernando Alonso (McLaren) and Carlos Sainz (Renault) closed the test on second and third position respectively, despite both of them starting the session with mechanical problems.
The eight test days held during the past two weeks at the Circuit have served to confirm that Ferrari is in best conditions to face up to Mercedes, Manufacturer’s World Champions in the past four years. In fact, the best lap-times of this winter were clocked by the drivers of the Maranello-based team, Sebastian Vettel (1:17.182) and Kimi Räikkönen (1:17.221), yesterday and today respectively, on hypersoft compounds.
The question is whether Mercedes has an ace in the hole, as it seems to be. For the moment, something nobody will dare to question is their reliability. Today, the British squad closed the door of their garage after making a total of 201 laps (Lewis Hamilton 97 and Valtteri Bottas 104), distributing the work of their drivers in morning and afternoon shifts. They both clocked average times, but ran another race simulation.
Behind Mercedes and Ferrari there are a lot of candidates who will be fighting for a place on the podium, including, with no doubt, Red Bull, after clocking the fifth fastest time today with Daniel Ricciardo: 1:18.327. McLaren has been included in the forecasts in last minute after the bombshell by Fernando Alonso.
In the last instants, the Spaniard clocked a spectacular time of 1:17.784 on hypersoft tyres. After completing a considerable figure of 93 laps, he was able to turn around a day that had started rather difficult, as the mechanics were forced to replace the power unit of his single-seater as a consequence of a turbo failure.
Curiously enough, Carlos Sainz experienced a similar day. Before lunch, he was hardly able to lap due to a failure of the gearbox, but in the afternoon he ‘flew’ with his Renault and climbed up to the third position on the timesheets with a great time of 1:18.092 and a balance of 45 laps that leads to optimism.
During these two weeks, the 10 teams of the World Championship have completed a total of 6,921 laps and 32,222 kilometres. The working pace at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has been frenetic and the new asphalt has passed the test ahead of the FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA 2018 with a very good grade. Today Pirelli announced that the compounds chosen for this event, that will be staged on 11 to 13 May, will be medium, soft and supersoft. The tickets for this unique show can be purchased on the Circuit’s website.