The Circuit drops the curtain of the pre-season

The Circuit drops the curtain of the pre-season with Mercedes as favourite

Valtteri Bottas sets the fastest time of the day (1:16.196), and the record time of this winter (1:15.732). His team leaves the Catalan racetrack having covered more laps than any other team, with a total of 903.

Formula 1

After six days of intense activity, with a total of 45,880 spectators, the Formula 1 Pre-season Testing finished today. The ten squads of the World Championship have tried to take full advantage in order to start the season under full operational conditions. This last session served to confirm Mercedes as the fastest and one of the most reliable teams; as well as to drop the curtain in the same way they opened it a few days ago, in the lead.

Although it had already been suspected, these six test days have served to ratify that Mercedes is in full condition to continue reigning in the Formula 1 World Championship. The winners of the manufacturer’s championship of the last six years clocked the fastest time of the day with Valtteri Bottas (1:16.196). The Finnish driver owns also the overall record of this winter, setting the fastest time ever clocked during test (1:15.732). Moreover, the team with the silver arrows made a total of 903 laps along these six days, a figure that no other team was able to match.

No one is arguing Mercedes’ reliability, for the moment, although they have shown some smaller weaknesses. Yesterday, Lewis Hamilton had trouble with his power unit, but single episodes like this did not hinder him from being the most active driver at an individual level. Speed with Bottas and activity with Hamilton. The Brackley-based team passes the tests with flying colours.

In fact, the last test day has provided for faster times overall. Up to ten drivers stopped the clocks at 1:16 and, behind Bottas, there are Verstappen (Red Bull), Ricciardo (Renault), Leclerc (Ferrari), Hamilton (Mercedes), Ocon (Renault), Pérez (Racing Point), Sainz (McLaren), Russell (Williams) and Kvyat (Alpha Tauri). A large part of these times were made on super soft tyres during qualifying simulations.

Charles Leclerc made today more laps than any other driver during this pre-season. With 181 laps, the Monaco-born driver helped Ferrari to shape up. Ferrari, who was among the groups of squads with less laps made in the first week, was the most active team during this second week, with a total of 844 laps. The Scuderia started the tests with hardly any will to stand out, in order not to create any false expectations, and although the start seemed to be rather dark, the Italians kept on improving, as shown yesterday by Vettel, clocking the fastest time.

The performance by Carlos Sainz has been solid as well. He is the second most active driver of the pre-season. Sainz, Lando Norris and McLaren have made a step forward, especially as regards reliability. The Spaniard was able to make 163 laps today, to share the last feelings with the MCL35. McLaren follows Mercedes and Ferrari in the classification by laps, with a total of 802 laps.

In the midfield, the performance of the teams has been very similar. Red Bull, Racing Point, Alfa Romeo, Alpha Tauri… All of them have something to say, so that the start of the season will be decisive to establish at what stage they are. Christian Horner, Red Bull Team Principal, had a few words about this situation during the press conference held today. “All teams seen to be reliable, they have all lapped a lot, and it has been like many compressed Grands Prix. But it’s too early to draw any conclusion”, he stated.

For another year, the Circuit says goodbye to a pre-season of the world championship caravan in style, with a total of 7.744 laps covered. Moreover, thousands of fans had the chance to watch and enjoy live at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya all of this show, that will be back in May with the staging of the FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA 2020.

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