Day two of preseason Formula 1 Testing in Barcelona, again showed which teams are on it and who is playing catch up. Here is our mid-afternoon report.
Gunayu Zhou made history when he went out for his first laps as an official Alfa Romeo driver, the first Chinese driver in the top flight and also the only rookie in this year’s stellar driver-lineup.
Although things appear better in the Alfa Romeo pit garage, it must be said it has not been a great start to testing as they are already on the back-foot with their two new drivers requiring as much seat time as possible in their new car, which has not happened.
Although today Bottas did 21 laps t end his stint in the car ninth fastest.
McLaren continued to show neat form with Daniel Ricciardo topping the timing screens at the mid-afternoon mark, going a couple of tenths quicker than Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz who had been fastest in the morning. He handed the car over to Charles Leclerc for the PM driving.
Sebastian Vettel swapped seats with Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, Nikita Mazepin took over the Haas from Mick Schumacher; Lewis Hamilton did 40 laps, stopped driving when the red flag session appeared before handing over to George Russell; Nicholas Latifi took over the Williams from Alex Albon, who enjoyed a productive day back in the top flight after a year off, ending the morning fourth fastest with 47 laps covered.
On track testing the limits and collecting the data. 📊
Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) 1:24.355 – 27 laps
Nikita Mazepin (Haas) 1:25.514 – five laps
In the morning, Ferrari continues to flatter with Carlos Sainz setting a handy early pace, half a second faster than anyone while Mercedes and Red Bull appear to be content staying out of the headline-grabbing times. And adding the most miles before the lunchtime gong.
Sergio Perez on duty for Red Bull for the first time this season stopped on track around midday, the first red flag of the test so far which is pretty impressive considering the newness of the cars.
Alfa Romeo struggles continued after limited running on Wednesday, Valtteri Bottas was stuck in the pits most of the morning with a dozen laps completed, but none with any meaning and riival teams doing double if not triple the miles
In contrast, the Haas boys seemed to get their act together today after a great deal of wasted time for Mick Schumacher, who was out first on day two, and Nikita Mazepin.
Carlos Sainz set the early pace with the Ferrari F1-75 starting to warn Tifosi hearts. This one seems to have promise on a day in which most teams were focusing aero testing, with a myriad of aero-rakes spotted on cars on track.
Mercedes had Lewis Hamilton on early duty, to be followed by ‘new boy’ George Russell.
Aero rakes, aero rakes everywhere 🤗
Take a closer look at these intricately designed rakes on our 2022 cars, that are providing important airflow data to the teams 🔎#F1pic.twitter.com/gImPtHfdWI
Interesting to see the Williams with Alex Albon in third and Schumacher junior finally doing some solid laps and miles, not so dramatically off the pace. Granted it is early days but suggestions are the grid will be far more compact than ever before.
The big guns Mercedes and Red Bull were apparently keeping their powder dry, with no interest in topping the times just yet. Ditto Mclaren whose Lando Norris who was fastest on day one, with Daniel Ricciardo back at work and getting good track time.
Sainz was a man on a mission as he racked up 57 laps by midday, more than his peers to that point, with his top time of 1:20.546s still standing.