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Barcelona Day 1: Updates and insights

Barcelona Day 1: Updates and insights

Barcelona Day 1: Updates and insights

The first Formula 1 pre-season test session of the 2022 season is underway at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, as all ten teams attempt to put their new cars in their paces.

Despite the test being behind closed doors, Grandprix247 will endeavor to provide the readers with insights and information from the track in Barcelona.

First hour of the Barcelona test

Haas F1 Team officially presented their 2022 car, the VF22 in the Barcelona paddock with Nikita Mazepin on driving duty for the American outfit.

Sebastian Vettel lead the proceedings being the first to drive out of the garage in the Aston Martin AMR22, with Lando Norris driving the MCL 36 out of the McLaren garage carrying aero rakes.

The first time on the board was registered by Mercedes’ George Russell, a 1:35, in the aero rake-donning W13.

The 2021 World Champion Max Verstappen was out on track as well, as the world got the chance to have a proper look at the real Red Bull RB18, featuring a radical sidepod design, and a pull-rod front suspension as opposed to the conventional push-rod shown on the launch car.

Alfa Romeo took to the track in their heavily camouflaged car, as the real one is yet to be revealed, with reserve driver Robert Kubica at the wheel.

With one hour into the test, all ten teams have had their cars running around the Spanish venue as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc recorded a time of  1:21.718, around five seconds off the pole time recorded last year, but it’s advisable not to read much into that.

Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton was hanging around the paddock, playing “Inspector Seb”, and checking out the competition’s cars, especially that RB18 that seems to be turning heads around the Barcelona paddock.

Hour two of the testing proceedings

Smooth running continues, no red flags, as testing enters the second hour of the morning session, all drivers keeping their cars on track.

A little over an hour into the testing (9:10 GMT), here is an update on lap times, keeping in mind that last year’s pole time achieved by Lewis Hamilton was 1:16.741.

1. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – 1m21.178 – C2 tyre

2. Lando Norris – McLaren – 1m22.491 – C2 tyre

3. George Russell – Mercedes – 1m22.655 – C3 tyre

4. Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri – 1m22.692 – C3 tyre

5. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1m23.038 – C2 tyre

6. Fernando Alonso – Alpine – 1m23.317 – C3 tyre

7. Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin – 1m25.007 – C3 tyre

A little under two hours into the session, all cars seem to have been running reliably, with Max Verstappen topping the lap counter by 37 laps.

Into the third hour

Alfa Romeo and Haas had their running restricted, both teams contributing that to new car gremlins. Otherwise nothing major to be reported as the session continues to be red-flag-free.

As the testing activities entered the third hour of the morning session on Wednesday in Barcelona, the times registered by the drivers were as follows:

1. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – 1m21.718 – C2 tyre

2. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1m22.246, C2 tyre

3. Lando Norris – McLaren – 1m22.382, C2 tyre

4. George Russell – Mercedes – 1m22.655 – C3 tyre

5. Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri – 1m22.692 – C3 tyre

6. Fernando Alonso – Alpine, 1m23.317 – C3 tyre

7. Nicholas Latifi – Williams – 1m23.379 – C3 tyre

8. Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin – 1m24.076 – C3 tyre

9. Nikita Mazepin – Haas, 1m28.255 – C2 tyre

George Russell manages to top the timing screens, almost halfway into the third hour of running with a 1:21.403, less the five seconds off the pole time his teammate achieved at Barcelona in 2021.

Verstappen meanwhile was racking up the laps, becoming the first driver with 50 laps under his belt, and that was almost two and half hours from the start of testing.

Alfa Romeo have had on four laps on the board in comparison…

Close till the end of the third hour of running, the times kept tumbling as Charles Leclerc regained the top spot from George Russell, with a 1:20.165, despite the latter’s improvement to 1:20.784.

The final hour of the morning session

As testing enters the final hour before the one-hour lunch break, here is the updated list of times recorded.

1. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – 1m20.165 – C3 tyre

2. George Russell – Mercedes – 1m20.784 – C3 tyre

3.Lando Norris – McLaren – 1m21.173 – C2 tyre

4. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1m22.246 – C2 tyre

5. Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri – 1m22.692 – C3 tyre

6. Fernando Alonso – Alpine – 1m23.317 – C3 tyre

7. Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin – 1m23.328 – C3 tyre

8. Nicholas Latifi – Williams – 1m23.379 – C3 tyre

9. Nikita Mazepin – Haas – 1m26.455 – C2 tyre

Also Verstappen will be gunning for a century of laps, as he is already on 65, with one hour to go before lunch.

With 35 minutes left of the morning session, Sebastian Vettel climbed to fourth in the AMR22, with a 1:21.551.

In the afternoon session, Lewis Hamilton will take over from George Russell at Mercedes, Alex Albon from Nicholas Latifi in the Williams, Mick Schumacher from Nikita Mazepin at Haas, and Lance Stroll from Sebastian Vettel in the Aston Martin.

Valtteri Bottas is supposed to take over from Robert Kubica at Alfa Romeo, the Polish driver confined to the team’s garage, his lap counter only at four.

Haas are the slowest team out there, with 13 laps only, as team owner Gene Haas is reportedly present at the track following the proceedings.

With 30 minutes to go before the break, Red Bull have amassed 71 laps followed by 68 for Mercedes, and 66 for Ferrari. Some solid running for the Big Three. Hopefully a three-way fight for the title this year.

Robert Kubica emerged from the Alfa Romeo garage with 20 minutes remaining from the morning testing session, while Fernando Alonso was doing some under-the-radar running racking up 47 laps up to now.

Here are the times and number of laps for each driver at the end of the morning test session:

1. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – 1m20.165 – C3 tyre – 80 laps

2. Lando Norris – McLaren – 1m20.474 – C3 tyre – 50 laps

3. George Russell – Mercedes – 1m20.784 – C3 tyre – 77 laps

4. Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin – 1m21.276 – C3 tyre – 52 laps

5. Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri – 1m21.638 – C3 tyre – 44 laps

6. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1m22.246 – C2 tyre – 80 laps

7. Fernando Alonso – Alpine – 1m23.317 – C3 tyre – 54 laps

8. Nicholas Latifi – Williams – 1m23.379 – C3 tyre – 66 laps

9. Nikita Mazepin – Haas – 1m24.505 – C2 tyre – 20 laps

10. Robert Kubica – Alfa Romeo – 1m25.909 – C3 tyre – 9 laps

First hour of the afternoon session at Barcelona

The afternoon session began with Max Verstappen taking to the track in “1” numbered RB18, almost 15 minutes into the afternoon session. The Dutchman finished the morning session sixth fastest but with 80 laps on the board.

Christian Horner told Sky Sports F1: “Just working through a programme. The lap count was good, feedback from the driver encouraging.

“I think it’s already probably surprising how much performance these cars have got. So they’re certainly not going to be lacking in high speed corners, that’s for certain.”

At Ferrari, and after topping the morning session, Charles Leclerc handed the reigns of the F1-75 over to his teammate Carlos Sainz.

Lewis Hamilton takes over from teammate George Russell in the afternoon, the younger Briton finishing the morning session third fastest with 77 laps to his name.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff told Sky Sports F1: “It was good. We did plenty of laps, as did our competitors, but it was a relatively smooth beginning of testing systems.

“We shouldn’t be interpreting too much in lap times but better to start solid like we did than to have a lot of problems,” he concluded.

Unlike Robert Kubica, Valtteri Bottas hit the track early on in the C42, after Kubica was limited to only 9 laps all morning due to technical issues, relegating him to the Alfa Romeo garage most of the morning.

Lando Norris’ McLaren stopped at the end of the pitlane, with the crew wheeling it back to the garage.

The leaderboard after one hour of afternoon running:

1. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – 1m20.165s- C3 tyre

2. Lando Norris – McLaren – 1m20.474s – C3 tyre

3. George Russell –  Mercedes – 1m20.784s – C3 tyre

4. Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin – 1m21.276s – C3 tyre

5. Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri – 1m21.638s – C3 tyre

6. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1m22.246s – C2 tyre

7. Carlos Sainz – Ferrari – 1m22.516s – C4 tyre

8. Fernando Alonso – Alpine – 1m23.317s – C3 tyre

9. Nicholas Latifi – Williams – 1m23.379s – C3 tyre

10. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1m23.382s – C3 tyre

11. Nikita Mazepin – Haas – 1m24.505s – C2 tyre

12. Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo – 1m24.981s – C2 tyre

13. Robert Kubica – Alfa Romeo – 1m25.909s – C3 tyre

14. Lance Stroll – Aston Martin – 1m26.908s – C2 tyre

Hour two in the afternoon testing session

Alex Albon makes his debut for Williams in the FW44, after taking over from Nicholas Latifi.

Esteban Ocon hits the track for the first time in what seems a change of plans for Alpine, who previously announced the Fernando Alonso should be in cockpit all day.

Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton improves his time on a second run, and is fifth on the leaderboard, with a 1:21.576.

Lando Norris is back out on the track, after stopping earlier at the end of the pitlane, as Hamilton’s lap counter combined with Russell’s in the morning session put Mercedes over the 100 lap count. Verstappen has exceeded 100 laps as well for Red Bull in what seems to be some solid running from the 2021 rival teams.

But it seems Ferrari has joined and surpassed the teams with over a century of laps. Here is the number of laps for each team up to now:

Ferrari – 105
Mercedes – 102
Red Bull – 101
Williams – 82
Alpine – 73
AlphaTauri – 69
Aston Martin – 66
McLaren – 63
Haas – 28
Alfa Romeo – 19

As un update, Ocon is not driving but Alonso, as per the team’s initial plan, but there was an error on the timing screens, proof below.

Lewis Hamilton continues his steady climb up the timing screens and is now in fourth place on a 1:21.197, as the Briton seems to be getting used to his brand new Silver Arrow.

Two hours to go before wrapping up day one in Barcelona

With two hours to go, before the first day  of the pre-season testing session is wrapped up, here is a look at the lap times recorded up to now.

1. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – 1m20.165 – C3 tyre

2. Lando Norris – McLaren – 1m20.474 – C3 tyre

3. George Russell – Mercedes – 1m20.784 – C3 tyre

4. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1m21.197 – C3 tyre

5. Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin – 1m21.276 – C3 tyre

6. Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri – 1m21.638 – C3 tyre

7. Carlos Sainz – Ferrari – 1m22.134 – C4 tyre

8. Max Verstappen – Red Bull, 1m22.246 – C2 tyre

9. Alex Albon – Williams – 1m22.938 – C3 tyre

10. Fernando Alonso – Alpine – 1m23.317 – C3 tyre

11. Nicholas Latifi – Williams – 1m23.379 – C3 tyre

12. Lance Stroll – Aston Martin – 1m23.699 – C2 tyre

13. Nikita Mazepin – Haas – 1m24.505 – C2 tyre

14. Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo – 1m24.981 – C2 tyre

15. Robert Kubica – Alfa Romeo – 1m25.909 – C3 tyre

16. Mick Schumacher – Haas – 1m26.879 – C2 tyre

Max Verstappen continues pounding in those laps, putting the RB18 through its paces, as he now reaches 114 laps, and probably exceeded that figure by the time these words have been written.

Once thing that can be taken away from this first test is the level of engineering in F1 these days, as brand new cars do not seem to suffer any reliability problems whatsoever. Only Alfa Romeo and Haas have been an exception today, with both outfits struggling with technical gremlins.

Max Verstappen passes the 129-lap mark, with 50 minutes into the third hour of afternoon running, and shows no signs of slowing down.

Valtteri Bottas climbs to ninth is the standings with a 1:22.831 on C3 tyres, which is an encouraging sign for Alfa Romeo of the morning troubles.

The final hour of day one at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

We are in the last hour of day one of pre-season testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with Valtteri Bottas’ lap count up to 24, as Carlos Sainz just completed his 55th lap of the day at the wheel of the F1-75.

Williams, on the other hand, have been quietly racking up the laps, with Alex Albon’s afternoon efforts bringing the Grove outfit’s tally to 121 laps.

Ferrari seem adamant to be the stars of day one of testing, as Carlos Sainz has just posted the second fastest lap time of the day behind his teammate, Charles Leclerc. A 1:20.416 for the Spaniard putting him less than three tenths behind the Monegasque.

Down the order, Haas have announced that a damaged floor has interrupted their already below par running.

Lando Norris puts a spanner in Ferrari’s works and goes faster, the McLaren driver posting a 1:19.951 with less the 30 minutes of running remaining.

In the meantime, Haas seem to have sorted Mick Schumacher VF22 out and he is back out on track to try and add some laps to his tally.

Charles Leclerc told the BBC that “the cars feel very different under braking – much heavier towards the end of the braking zone – but following cars felt pretty similar” when he did a bit this morning but “loves the fact all the cars look so different this year” though.

Furthermore, Chris Medland reported that the one of the two new F1 race directors Eduardo Freitas was present in the Barcelona paddock today, and being shown around.

Lando Norris is still on it and shaves 0.4s off his top time, now 1:19.568, with less than ten minutes remaining of the session.

And that’s a wrap for today, as Lando Norris goes fastest ahead of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in second and third respectively.

Below are the final standings for the first day of the pre-season test session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, along with the number of laps accumulated by each driver.

1. Lando Norris (McLaren) 1:19.568 – C4 – 103 laps

2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 1:20.165 – C3 – 80 laps

3. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) 1:20.416 – C3 – 73 laps

4. George Russell (Mercedes) 1:20.784 – C3 – 77 laps

5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:20.929 – C3 – 50 laps

6. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) 1:21.276 – C3 – 52 laps

7. Yuki Tsuonda (Alpha Tauri) 1:21.638 – C3 – 121 laps

8. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) 1:21.746 – C2 – 127 laps

9. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:22.246 – C2 – 147 laps

10. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) 1:22.572 – C3 – 23 laps

11. Alexander Albon (Williams) 1:22.760 – C3 – 66 laps

12. Mick Schumacher (Haas) 1:22.962 – C3 – 23 laps

13. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) 1:23.327 – C2 – 67 laps

14. Nicholas Latifi (Williams) 1:23.379 – C3 – 66 laps

15. Nikita Mazepin (Haas) 1:24.505 – C2 – 20 laps

16. Robert Kubica (Alfa Romeo) 1:25.909 – C3 – 9 laps