365体育投注APPFormula 1 completed six days of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya ahead of the 2020 season – which begins in a fortnight with the Australian Grand Prix – and the pecking order appears to be a little clearer following the second test.
Whilst testing is notoriously difficult to read, some signs emerged which started to paint a slightly clearer picture of where each team stands, and whilst we’re not going to guess that exact order, we can make a pretty calculated estimate based on the available data.
Starting with the most basic of data; lap times. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas came out on top in the combined times across the two tests with a time of 1:15.732 on the C5 tyre (the softest and quickest compound).
As the graph below this combined times table shows, Mercedes have improved by half a second on their best time from 2019 pre-season testing, but the time is still short of what Bottas achieved during qualifying for the Spanish GP last year – a 1:15.406. It’s clear that each and every team is keeping their cards close to their chest, opting not to reveal their true hand until the first race of the season.
But the fact Bottas achieved this time during the first test, rather than the second, hints that Mercedes are in a comfortable position and are widely expected to head into the season ahead of the rest.
Combined Times (Test 1 & 2)
|1||V. Bottas||Mercedes||1:15.732||C5||Day 3|
|2||M. Verstappen||Red Bull||1:16.269||C4||Day 6|
|3||D. Ricciardo||Renault||1:16.276||C5||Day 6|
|4||C. Leclerc||Ferrari||1:16.360||C5||Day 6|
|5||L. Hamilton||Mercedes||1:16.410||C5||Day 6|
|6||E. Ocon||Renault||1:16.433||C4||Day 6|
|7||S. Perez||Racing Point||1:16.658||C3||Day 6|
|8||C. Sainz||McLaren||1:16.820||C4||Day 6|
|9||S. Vettel||Ferrari||1:16.841||C5||Day 5|
|10||G. Russell||Williams||1:16.871||C5||Day 6|
|11||D. Kvyat||AlphaTauri||1:16.914||C4||Day 6|
|12||R. Kubica||Alfa Romeo||1:16.942||C5||Day 4|
|13||R. Grosjean||Haas||1:17.037||C4||Day 6|
|14||P. Gasly||AlphaTauri||1:17.066||C5||Day 5|
|15||K. Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1:17.091||C5||Day|
|16||L. Stroll||Racing Point||1:17.118||C3||Day 5|
|17||N. Latifi||Williams||1:17.313||C5||Day 5|
|18||A. Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1:17.469||C5||Day 3|
|19||K. Magnussen||Haas||1:17.495||C4||Day 6|
|20||A. Albon||Red Bull||1:17.550||C2||Day 4|
|21||L. Norris||McLaren||1:17.573||C3||Day 5|
Red Bull appear to be in a pretty strong position, with Verstappen teasing a quick time before backing off in the final sector. As things stands, Red Bull look to be Mercedes’ closest competitor, but Ferrari aren’t far behind, particularly in race trim following Charles Leclerc’s consistent pace during a race simulation.
Ferrari have repeatedly stated that they’re behind their rivals, with team boss Mattia Binotto painting a pretty poor picture, but nobody’s buying those claims. The Italian squad might be down on Mercedes, but it doesn’t appear to be as bad as the claims – who can blame them for playing things down following last year’s debacle?
Ferrari failed to beat their best time from 2019 pre-season testing, in fact they were over a tenth slower, but you can’t read much into that and we’d be more than happy to bet on that! Why not do just that on a .
The biggest improver was Williams at 1.2s, but that’s not exactly a big ask when your 2019 preparations were diabolical, and that’s putting it politely.
365体育投注APPEight teams improved with Ferrari and AlphaTauri falling short.
Racing Point, or ‘the pink Mercedes’ as they’ve come to be known, look set to lead the midfield with McLaren/Renault not far behind, followed by the lower midfield pack of AlphaTauri, Haas and Alfa Romeo. Then we have , though mingling in the midfield on occasion isn’t out of the question.
Total Lap Counts (Test 1 & 2)
Going on mileage, despite a rubbish Thursday for Mercedes, they still come out on top followed closely by Ferrari.
Lap counts don’t give too much away, but can be a good indicator of reliability, but as we’re in the final year of stable regulations, you’d expect reliability to be less of a concern and these numbers prove that to be the case.
Total Lap Count by Engine (Test 1 & 2)
So, no wild predictions. Expect much of the same in 2020. Racing Point could spring a surprise and perhaps the occasional podium if things go awry for those ahead. McLaren/Renault look set for another tight battle. Williams likely last again. Australia, it’s over to you to prove us wrong!