After McLaren and Ferrari on Wednesday and Thursday, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell for Mercedes set Friday’s best times ahead of Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen (Red Bull) for the third day of winter testing in Barcelona.
These are of course the tests before the season started in Bahrain on March 20, but the seven-time world champion was counting on to deliver the blow. In the final minutes of three busy days in Catalonia, Lewis Hamilton scored the best. Teams were able to demonstrate brand new single-seaters with modified aerodynamics for three days with changed fates in 2022, when a fundamental change in the rules was expected to reduce the performance gap between teams.
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But for now, it’s clear that we’re ahead of the same favorite Mercedes and Red Bull, which created the rain and good weather in 2021. Wednesday and Thursday, McLaren and Ferrari had shown themselves ahead, reaffirming their position as foreigners and promising better days for British fans and Italian typhoid after years of famine.
On Friday, Mercedes took control as several teams, notably the French Alps, had endurance issues. First, Bottas was forced to move to Alfa Romeo with Valtteri’s new hire, George Russell. Then and finally with the 2021 vice-champion who established his authority in 1’19”138. More important than time, however, is chaining the miles with new cars and new tires – a dozen centimeters larger in diameter.
Lewis Hamilton during winter testing in Barcelona.
Teams and drivers will have three days of testing in Bahrain (March 10-12) to understand the new changes. And specifically, understanding the phenomenon of “porpoising”, which sees single-seaters bouncing up and down in a straight line due to new ground effect or suction pressing the single seats into the bitumen.
Alongside Mercedes and Red Bull, Ferrari (Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz) and McLaren (Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris), Williams accomplished his mission by multiplying the cycles on Friday, especially with rookie Alex Albon. For Aston Martin, however, the harvest was mixed, despite Sebastian Vettel’s 3rd voyage, with a session halted early due to oil spills. Teammate Lance Stroll was unable to run in the afternoon.
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Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and Mick Schumacher (Haas) were also absent from the track in the afternoon due to mechanical problems previously experienced by teammates Pierre Gasly, Fernando Alonso and Nikita Mazepin. For Alpine, Fernando Alonso completed just 12 laps before stopping his single-seater with a smoking engine due to a hydraulic problem.
Haas stopped the day after nine short laps due to an oil spill, the track was a detail. The American team, whose main sponsor is the Russian group Uralkali, is in turmoil due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The American team, which generally carries the title sponsor’s Russian colors, sported a plain white single player. His manager Günther Steiner announced that the team will soon decide on the long-term future of the partnership with Uralkali.
A pending contract, like Russian driver Nikita Mazepin’s F1 career, came in 2021 with the financial backing of Uralkali’s independent director, billionaire father Dmitry Mazepin. “I don’t control much of what is said and what happens“, he explained his 22 years of piloting especially on his social networks.
Classification of the third day of the test in Barcelona
1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1:19.138 (94 laps completed)
2. George Russell (GBR/Mercedes) 1:19,233 (66)
3. Sergio Perez (MEX/Red Bull) 1:19.556 (74)
4. Max Verstappen (PB/Red Bull) 1:19,756 (59)
5. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Aston Martin) 1:19,824 (48)
6. Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) 1:19.831 (44)
7. Carlos Sainz (ESP/Ferrari) 1:20,072 (92)
8. Alexander Albon (THA/Williams) 1:20.318 (94)
9. Nicholas Latifi (CAN/Williams) 1:20.699 (13)
10. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/McLaren) 1:20,750 (86)
11. Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren) 1:20.827 (52)
12. Fernando Alonso (ESP/Alp) 1:21,242 (12)
13. Zhou Guanyu (CHI/Alfa Romeo) 1:21.939 (41)
14. Pierre Gasly (FRA/AlphaTauri) 1:22,469 (40)
15. Nikita Mazepin (RUS/Haas) 1:26.229 (9)
16. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Alfa Romeo) 1:30,433 (10)
Leclerc leads Gasly and Ricciardo on day two of testing in Barcelona
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