Mercedes edges Ferrari on second day of in-season F1 testing

Image by Portlock/LAT

Mercedes edges Ferrari on second day of in-season F1 testing

Formula 1

Mercedes edges Ferrari on second day of in-season F1 testing


Valtteri Bottas posted the quickest time and finished less than 0.1s clear of Antonio Giovinazzi’s Ferrari on the second day of in-season testing in Barcelona.

The two-day test concluded with a number of reserve and replacement drivers spending time in the cars, with only Bottas, Kevin Magnussen, Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly running normal programs.

Bottas posted a 1m16.904s to lead the way on the supersoft compound tire, a lap time that would have been good enough for seventh on the grid in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix on the same tire. Giovinazzi was in the Sauber on day one but swapped to the Ferrari on Wednesday and used the hypersoft tire that will debut at the next race in Monaco to go second, 0.068s adrift of Bottas.

After testing for Pirelli on the opening day, Lando Norris got track time for McLaren and duly set the third-fastest lap with a late run on the soft tire. The time of 1m18.039s was quicker than both McLaren drivers managed on the same compound during qualifying last weekend, and just 0.3s off Fernando Alonso’s Q3 time on the supersofts.

Part of that impressive Norris time can be attributed to the track improvement after two relatively trouble-free days of running, although the Formula 2 championship leader did stop on track in the afternoon. Having just emerged from the pits, Norris was told to stop at Turn 3 as a result of what McLaren described as “a minor setting issue” that was soon reset and only cost the team around 40 minutes of running.

The stoppage came shortly after Magnussen had also come to a halt on the run to Turn 4, with Haas spotting something it didn’t like in the data and ordering the Dane to stop as a precaution. After initial investigations, Haas decided to end its running for the day after 76 laps, though the team ended up fourth on the timing screens as a result of a hypersoft tire run in the morning session.

Nikita Mazepin was fifth quickest as he completed more than 100 laps for Force India, with this weekend’s GP3 feature race winner enjoying another outing for the team. Mazepin was 0.6s clear of debutant Jack Aitken, with the Renault youngster sixth overall and managing 120 laps.

There was also more track time for Robert Kubica, who followed his FP1 run for Williams with a full day of testing and completed nearly two race distances. Kubica was eighth fastest at the end of the day, 2.3s off the pace set by Bottas.

Below Gasly in ninth, the only other race driver in action was Stoffel Vandoorne, with the Belgian driving the pre-Spanish Grand Prix specification McLaren for Pirelli as part of its tire testing program. Nicolas Latifi was the other driver on Pirelli duty, getting his second consecutive day in the Force India as a result.

Another new name on the timing screens was Jake Dennis, with the Red Bull simulator driver getting a full day behind the wheel of the RB14. Ending up 3.5s off the pace, Dennis ended with a total of 74 laps, as Red Bull struggled a little for mileage alongside McLaren and Haas.

–Chris Medland