If you’d have asked most F1 pundits about last week’s test and even the majority of this week’s test, they would tell you that Ferrari were looking the strongest. Even Lewis Hamilton suggested that the Scuderia could be as much as .5s ahead of his Mercedes.
That all seemed to ring true until the waning moments on the last day of 2019 winter testing. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton threw down a 1m16.224s lap and the gap between his arch rival, Sebastian Vettel, in the Ferrari was just 0.003s.
While most felt that Ferrari were quickest on long and short runs, Mercedes may have just recast that notion and left pundits wondering if the two teams were on equal footing leaving winter testing.
It could be but the reality is neither team know if the other has/is sandbagging and exactly what fuel levels they were running. Also, the reliability and total mileage ran is still a major factor as to how both teams are positioned for the season.
Regardless, Mercedes sent a message and while we can’t know definitively, it would suggest that the old Mercedes sandbag trick is in rude health. The big questions is, is Ferrari’s?
Friday testing times:
|5||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m16.898s||0.677s||131|
|9||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m17.239s||1.018s||132|
|11||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m17.709s||1.488s||29|
|12||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m17.791s||1.570s||104|