Second test day completed at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The day, which had many similarities with yesterday’s, turned into a new battle between Ferrari and McLaren. The Italians, with Leclerc at the front, snatched the best time from the Britons at the last minute.
This morning, Spanish driver Carlos Sainz had the most privileged position on the sheets in his hands. Before the midday break, Daniel Ricciardo snatched the fastest time from him, something that Lando Norris did yesterday with Leclerc. If the scoreboard was at zero for Ferrari, this afternoon Charles Leclerc reversed the situation. With Carlos Sainz already off the track, the Monaco-born driver clocked a 1:19.689, making him the fastest man on the second day of testing. Daniel Ricciardo, who did not share a seat with Norris today, was also beaten late in the afternoon by Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri).
While McLaren and Ferrari have their work cut out, the favourites seem not to have shown all their cards. Red Bull handed the car over to Checho Pérez today, who caused the first red flag of the pre-season. With apparent mechanical problems, the 2021 champion team did not complete many laps today. Mercedes, meanwhile, lapped with Lewis Hamilton in the morning and George Russell in the afternoon. Hamilton set very discreet lap times, while Russell was responsible for climbing up to fourth position on the timesheets late in the session.
The Circuit also had the honour of witnessing the debut of Guanyu Zhou in the FIA Formula One World Championship with Alfa Romeo. The young Chinese driver is preparing what will be his first season in the premier class, gaining valuable kilometres in Catalan territory. His teammate, Valtteri Bottas, is also adapting to his new car. On the other hand, Pierre Gasly and Daniel Ricciardo were the most active of the second day, with Esteban Ocon close behind. Fernando Alonso confessed during today’s press conference that Alpine’s objective was precisely that, to be consistent and complete as many laps as possible, thus improving their reliability.
Beyond today’s details, what is still on everyone’s lips is the ground effect with the changes introduced to the new cars. The new cars have much more downforce under the body, stiffer suspension and stiffer tyres. It seems that all the teams in the World Championship are looking for the best set-up to get the most out of their performance this season.