The first two days of the final four-day test in Barcelona have not really helped to unlock any real evidence to suggest who is going to be fastest when the teams gather in Melbourne. Today Valtteri Bottas was fastest for Mercedes, with a lap of 1m19.310s, which is the fastest seen so far, beating his best time of last week at 1m19.705s. However this lap was set on on super-soft tyres and so the indications are that he would have gone even faster on ultra-softs. Yesterday the fastest time was a 1m19.726s set by Felipe Massa on super-softs. On ultra-softs today, he set the second best time of 1m19.420s. As a rough guide, if the ultra-softs are worth 0.3s then Bottas might have set a 1m19.0s. Having said that Ferrari has been sticking to soft rubber thus far and Sebastian Vettel set a 1m19.906s best yesterday, so it is safe to suggest that the Ferrari is not far off in terms of pace. Daniel Ricciardo was out on ultra-soft yesterday and set a 1m19.900s, which suggests that the Red Bulls may not be on the pace, but then today Max Verstappen all but matched Vettel on the same tyres. So, the reality is we don’t really know what is going on…
Thus far in the two days Bottas has been quickest and has completed 156 laps. Lewis Hamilton has stayed on soft rubber and has done 128 laps in the last two days, with a best of 1m20.465s. This means that Mercedes has already completed 284 laps this week, to add to the 560 last week (a total of 844). With Massa having done 231 laps in two days, Williams is making up for Lance Stroll’s problems last week. The Canadian did 59 laps today with a best of 1m20.579s on super-soft rubber. This means that Williams has completed 290 laps in two days, almost the same as Mercedes and the overall total for six days of testing is now up to 503 laps.
Third fastest in the two days this week has been Daniel Ricciardo, who ran on Tuesday and set a best of 1m19.900s on ultra-soft tyres after 89 laps. Max Verstappen added 102 laps today with a best of 1m20.432s on soft tyres, so Red Bull’s two-day total is 191 laps, adding to the 294 last week, giving the team a total of 485 laps.
The two Ferrari drivers are thus far fourth and fifth overall in this week’s tests with a total of 221 laps, to add to the 468 last week, giving the team a total of 690 laps. This still a long way short of Mercedes, but the team has not been going for lap times.
Nico Hulkenberg has been ninth overall in the two days of running with a best of 1m21.213s after 119 laps in his Renault. Jolyon Palmer has done only 44 laps, giving the team a total of 163 laps, to add to last week’s 346 laps. This means that the team had completed 509 laps thus far, a good solid total.
Tenth and 11th thus far have been Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon in the Force India, with laps of 1m21.297s and 1m21.347s respectively, both on super-soft tyres. The team’s total running this week has been 242 laps, to add to last week’s 278, giving the team a total of 520 laps thus far.
Kevin Magnussen has been 12th fastest this week with a 1m21.676s after 81 laps in his Haas. Romain Grosjean’s best was 1m21.887s, after 96 laps. This gives the team 177 laps to add to last week’s 343, giving the team a total of 520 laps.
Scuderia Toro Rosso was next with Danii Kvyat setting a best of 1m21.743s and Carlos Sainz doing a best of 1m21.872s. Together the two completed 175 laps, which added to last week’s 183, gives a total of 358.
McLaren has struggled again this week with a total of just 126 laps with Stoffel Vandoorne fastest yesterday with a best lap of 1m22.537s, half a second quicker than Fernando Alonso’s 1m23.041s today. This means that the Woking team has managed just 334 laps in the six days thus far.
Sauber has been the slowest of the team, with Pascal Wehrlein now back in action with a best of 1m23.000s. The team has used only soft tyres thus far and has clocked up 205 laps this week, to add to its 349 last week, giving it a total of 554, the third highest after Mercedes (844) and Ferrari (690), but ahead of Haas and Force India (520 each), Renault (509), Williams (503), Red Bull (485), Toro Rosso (358) and McLaren (334).