Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton ended the third and final day of the Barcelona shakedown test on the top, beating his new team mate George Russell. F1Technical’s Balázs Szabó reports from the Barcelona paddock.
The F1 field ended the first stage of its preparation for the forthcoming season with Barcelona hosting the first location of the pre-season testing. Officially, the Barcelona preparation was called shakedown test as the official pre-season test will take place in Bahrain in two weeks’ time.
The sport feared that the revolutionary new cars would prove unreliable hence the official title of shakedown test, but the machines proved to be much more robust than previously anticipated. Interestingly, the first two days went by without lengthy interruption with only Day 3 proving more challenging.
Friday was a busier than they expected. Firstly, the morning session was interrupted on five occasions due to driver mistakes and reliability problems. Secondly, the afternoon session started with a damp track after Pirelli asked for a wet-weather tyre test on the third and final day of the Barcelona testing.
The water trucks artificially soaked the track over the lunch break on Friday, so cars out in the afternoon could run around on wet tires which enabled Pirelli to check the way the wet tyre work on the new cars. The damp surface did not last long as it dried out for slick tyres after 90 minutes.
Mercedes was in the league of its own as the Barcelona shakedown test came to an end at Barcelona. The Brackley based outfit provided George Russell with few sets of Pirelli's softest C5 compound to try to explore the W13's outright pace. The young Briton ended the morning session on top before his team mate Lewis Hamilton eclipsed him in the dying minutes of the session.
The seven-time world champion set a benchamrk of 1m19.138s which was the fastest time of the entire shakedown testing. Hamilton had four new sets of C5 at his disposal for the last half an hour of the test and set his benchmark despite backing off in the last sector. The duo of Hamilton and Russell racked up the highest mileage of the day with a lap tally of 160 laps.
Alpine started the day strongly with Fernando Alonso topping the morning session early on, but the Spaniard came to a halt after just 12 laps into his day. The team has confirmed that the problem was related to the hydraulics of the car which prevented it from further running today.
"After further investigations in the garage following Fernando Alonso’s on-track stoppage earlier this morning, the team can confirm the issue was a problem with the hydraulics. A minor sealing issue led to a fire in the back of the car.
„The team has successfully completed 266 laps during the three days of the Barcelona shakedown. Repairs on the car will continue, and as a result we won’t be running for the remainder of the day. We look forward to be back in action at the next test in Bahrain," read the team's statement.
Aston Martin had a fair share of difficulties on Day 3 of the Barcelona shakedown test. The Silverstone based outfit’s German driver Sebastian Vettel tried out Pirelli’s softer compounds in the closing stages of the morning session, setting a best of 1m19.824s on the C5 tyre. The four-time world champion was, however, forced to park his car when his AMR22 caught fire in the last sector of the track.
The British team determined that “it was an oil leak that caused #SV5 to stop on track shortly before lunch.” The mechanics were eager to repair the car and get it ready for the closing stages of the afternoon session, but they were ultimately unable to finish the work in time. It meant that Aston Martin only managed 48 laps on the final day.
Haas endured a more difficult fortune. Formula One’s American team planned to run with Nikita Mazepin in the morning while Mick Schumacher was due to take over the VF22 in the afternoon. However, the Russian driver could only complete nine laps before a leak forced him to stop on the track
The Kannapolis based outfit hoped that the car would be able to return this afternoon, but the length of the repair work made it impossible to continue the test on the final day of testing. The team can at least use the data collected on Day 2 when Schumacher and Mazepin racked up a total of 108 laps.
Ferrari also ended another successful day with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz ending up sixth and seventh fastest. The Monegasque racked up a total of 44 laps while his team mate notched up 92 laps in total.
The Red Bull duo of Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen ended the test in P3 and P4 respectively. The Mexican registered his best lap time on the C4 compound while the Belgian-Dutch driver recorded his 1m19.756s on the more durable C3 rubber.