Mercedes leads the way after 1st week of testing

Last year Ferrari were the talk of testing and many reports had them pegged as the fastest car and actually surpassing Mercedes. This notion was so strong out of testing in 2019 that it took the first 5-6 races for the press to actually stop saying it as Ferrari were fast but so were Mercedes. By contrast, Mercedes didn’t have a testing program that outshone everyone and many believe, in hindsight, that it was a classic case of Mercedes sandbagging.

This year, Mercedes finishes the first week of testing on top and Day three was indicative of the smooth session they had while Ferrari are facing real struggles. Team boss Mattia Binotto said that they are not as fast as the other teams and suggests the team has work to do. Not very glowing.

Have roles reversed? Is Ferrari sandbagging now? As a life-long fan of Ferrari, I tend to think not but the inner fan certainly hopes so. There’s a lot to be learned in testing even while the media tell you there’s not because you don’t know what fuel load, tires etc. The teams know, we just don’t know and that’s why testing is a tremendous wealth of information.

I’m no different than other fans, I like to try and guess who is quick but the key for me in testing, and a much more known entity, is the amount of laps they run. Reliability is critical and this number is very important. Alfa Romeo’s 152 laps is a very good sign on day three.

Day three

  1. Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes – 1:15.732 – 65 laps
  2. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – +0.784s – 72 laps
  3. Esteban Ocon – Renault – +1.370s – 76 laps
  4. Lance Stroll – Racing Point – +1.606s – 116 laps
  5. Daniil Kvyat – Alpha Tauri – +1.695s – 62 laps
  6. Antonio Giovinazzi – Alfa Romeo – +1.737 – 152 laps
  7. Daniel Ricciardo – Renault – +1.842 – 93 laps
  8. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – +1.904s – 86 laps
  9. Pierre Gasly – Alpha Tauri – +2.051s – 59 laps
  10. Alex Albon – Red Bull – +2.422s – 83 laps
  11. Carlos Sainz – McLaren – +2.542s – 76 laps
  12. Romain Grosjean – Haas – +2.648s – 48 laps
  13. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – +2.652s – 100 laps
  14. Lando Norris – McLaren – +2.722 – 49 laps
  15. Nicholas Latifi – Williams – +3.272s – 72 laps
  16. Kevin Magnussen – Haas – +3.977s – 4 laps
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Comparing these with the first two days shows a real mixed bag though Merc’s leading the way. I may have an inkling of who’s going to take the title, but I couldn’t even tell you who’s going to take 2nd.