The second day of collective testing of the Formula 1 preseason was marked by the debut of a novelty at Mercedes that gave us something to talk about in the paddock at the Circuit de Catalunya. Named by the DAS team, it allows the wheels to align in a way to help conserve tires and straight line speed, using the movement of the steering wheel, which is closer to the driver on the straights. But who ended up with the fastest time was Kimi Raikkonen, with Alfa Romeo, with a time made in the last hour of the session. A few minutes later, the Finn stopped his car on the straight and caused the only red flag of the test so far.
Until then, the fastest for most of the day was Sergio Perez, from Racing Point, another team that has been generating a lot of discussion due to the similarities between his 2020 car and last season’s winning model, precisely from Mercedes.
Raikkonen’s time of 1min17s091, was not superior than the Lewis Hamilton mark from the first day. As the teams are not yet focusing on performance, lap times are still expected to drop considerably in the remaining four days of testing.
Ferrari, for example, is one of the teams that are still far from showing its potential. As Charles Leclerc explained, the team’s initial focus is to understand the characteristics of the car before trying to get the best out of it. This is a change in approach from Scuderia, which did very well in the pre-season last year, and later disappointed in the first part of the championship, finding a car whose behavior changed a lot from one track to the next. But, contrary to what happened on the first day of activities, when Leclerc made 132 laps, this time Ferrari was unable to add so much mileage, with Sebastian Vettel adding only 61 laps and finishing in sixth. The German is recovering from a cold that took him out of the first day of training, so he shared the cockpit with Leclerc on Thursday. The Monegasque finished in eighth place and took 49 laps.
Red Bull was another team that did not focus on performance in these first two days. Alex Albon was fourth, but managed to complete more than 120 laps, equivalent to the distance of two Spanish GPs. Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was the third fastest of the day. Only the first four drivers stayed within the same second.
Pierre Gasly, from AlphaTauri (ex-Toro Rosso, renamed this year, but maintaining the same structure and riders), was the fifth placed and was another that surpassed the equivalent of two races on the Spanish circuit. George Russell had another very positive day for Williams, overcoming 100 laps and setting times in the middle of the pack, ending the day in seventh, ahead of Hamilton, who only rode in the morning, and Lando Norris, of McLaren.
The only driver who escaped the track was Romain Grosjean, who lost the rear of Haas but managed to avoid the wall. The Frenchman was in 11th place and was the driver who rode the most on the day, with more than 150 laps. Returning to the grid this season, Esteban Ocon did a few laps with Renault in the afternoon and was the penultimate, ahead of only Valtteri Bottas, who rode on the track before ending his test earlier than planned due to a electrical problem in your Mercedes.
The last day of testing this week will be this Friday. The cars return to the Circuit de Catalunya next week, again running from Wednesday to Friday. The season starts with the Australian GP on March 15th.
Check the times of the 2nd pre-season testing session
1st Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) 1min17s091 – 134 laps
2nd Sergio Perez (Racing Point) 1min17s347 – 145 laps
3rd Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) 1min17s749 – 41 laps
4th Alex Albon (Red Bull) 1min17s912 – 133 laps
5th Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) 1min18s121 – 147 laps
6th Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1min18s154 – 73 laps
7th George Russell (Williams) 1min18s266 – 116 laps
8th Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 1min18s335 – 49 laps
9th Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1min18s387 – 106 laps
10th Lando Norris (McLaren) 1min18s474 – 137 laps
11th Romain Grosjean (Haas) 1min18s496 – 158 laps
12th Esteban Ocon (Renault) 1min18s557 – 52 laps
13th Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1min19s307 – 77 laps