Sebastian Vettel may have topped the timesheet on the final day of Formula 1 pre-season testing, but Mercedes claimed the day four headlines.
After two weeks of disciplined data gathering, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas unlocked performance from the W10, ending up second and third on the timesheet – Hamilton just 0.003s adrift of Vettel’s benchmark.
Here is a round-up of all the main storylines from the final day of pre-season testing.
On Tuesday morning, the FIA announced that changes will be made to Formula 1’s technical regulations ahead of the 2019 season in order to promote more overtaking. At face value, this proposition is mouthwatering to fans who enjoyed the novelty of seeing Daniel Ricciardo tear from sixth to first in a frenetic 10 laps during the Chinese Grand Prix.
However, could an early step towards the new-look F1 of 2021 be a dangerous distraction that could ultimately devalue the art of overtaking?
Nico Hulkenberg has always possessed an ability to deliver impressive speed over one lap. His recent qualifying statistics not only demonstrate a continued adeptness at maximising a Saturday afternoon, but they also make a case for rating Hulkenberg as one of Formula 1’s strongest qualifiers.
Sport does a really bad job of remembering those who finish second, even when their defeat is dealt by the smallest of margins. However, Felipe Massa is somewhat of an exception, having been one half of a 2008 world championship tussle that will surely be remembered as long as racing cars lap racing circuits.
Last week, Massa announced that the final two races of the 2017 season will be his last in Formula 1. A familiar position following his announcement last season that he would retire at the conclusion of the 2016 campaign, only to be recalled just weeks later as Williams needed a late replacement for the Mercedes-bound Bottas.
With Massa already setting his sights on other categories, the chances of a second return to F1 range between slim and none. All-out for 15 years at the pinnacle of motorsport, 11 victories, 41 podiums and a starring role in the most dramatic sporting spectacle F1 will likely ever host.
As the sun rose over the Circuit de Catalunya this morning, teams entered into the final 24 hours of testing prior to the curtain raiser in Melbourne. Unsurprisingly, the intrigue continues to build as teams begin to reveal more clues providing hints as to what this season’s pecking order could look like.
After yesterday’s revelation that Hamilton percieves Ferrari to have the best package heading into the season, today was particularly intriguing, as we armchair pundits frantically studied the times in an attempt to find evidence for Hamilton’s suggestion. In reality, it was Williams who provided further evidence that they could, in fact, be dark horses.
Meanwhile, Mercedes seemed to turn up the power on their W08.
Here are FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED on day six of pre-season testing…
The F1 circus reconvened in Barcelona today, as 2017 testing fired back into life. The first week of pre-season testing offered a few clues with regards to the pecking order, yet this week promises to reveal far more as teams begin to show their hands by testing the true performance of their package.
Today was a tale of winners a losers. Ferrari, Williams and Red Bull all enjoyed excellent outings, while McLaren and Honda’s relationship has taken another sour turn, with the partnership now under “maximum” strain.
Here’s FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED on day five of pre-season testing…
Day three of pre-season testing largely followed the pattern set on day two, as numerous trends are beginning to emerge.
Mercedes were once again hounded by the speed shown by Ferrari, who continue to show promise. Red Bull was best of the rest on the admittedly academic time-sheet but faced a day partially truncated by reliability questions. Daniel Ricciardo is seemingly unfazed. Lance Stroll continued to learn just how difficult F1 in 2017 is.
Here are FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED on day three of pre-season testing…