The opening pre-season test from Barcelona concluded on Friday evening, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton topping the timesheets. Lap times are usually unimportant for testing, and this year was no different, with mileage on the agenda as the sport beckons in a new era.
On Wednesday morning, all 10 Formula 1 shared a track for the first time this year, and the opening day of running was unusually smooth, with no red flags deployed.
In what would be somewhat of a recurring pattern, Ferrari looked strong on the mileage front while Alfa and Haas, who formed the foundations of 2021’s championship table, struggled to get laps in.
Max Verstappen set a dizzying 147 laps during the opening day of running, which would be matched by Pierre Gasly on Thursday, but no one came close to beating this single-day tally.
Across the three days, the driver who clocked up the most amount of laps was Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, closely followed by McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and Mercedes’ George Russell.
Lap count by driver
The cars are expected to look different for not only the opening race of the season, but also for the second and final pre-season test, which will take place in Bahrain in just under two weeks’ time.
Therefore, the collection of data to send to the factory engineers is vital in order to successfully develop the car and keep up with the pack. While some teams completed a satisfactory number of laps throughout the three days, some teams did not.
Haas and Alfa Romeo were the only two teams that failed to breach 1,000 kilometres covered, meaning both teams will need a busy test in Sakhir to turn the mileage around.
Lap count by team
Although a bulk of this year’s regulations are focused on aerodynamics, the car’s Power Units have not gone without alteration.
The four manufacturers have to contend with the new E10 fuel mixture, meaning 10 per cent of this year’s fuel must be ethanol in an effort to reduce carbon emissions.
The new fuel has been described by Mercedes as the biggest PU-related change the sport has seen since the turbo-hybrid era began in 2014, only adding to the headache of ensuring their designs are in the best possible shape ahead of the March 1 development freeze.
Being the only manufacturer that powers four teams on the grid, naturally Mercedes clocked the most mileage in Barcelona, while Renault, who solely supplies its Alpine team, tallied the least.
Lap count by engine manufacturer
As previously mentioned, lap times rarely mean anything at pre-season testing, and that certainly rings true this time around.
The three days in Barcelona were not about performance, as teams and drivers settled into the start of the sport’s new era. Performance runs may be more evident in Sakhir, however they will still not likely provide a definitive answer to the grid’s pecking order.
Nevertheless, it was seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton who walked away from Barcelona with bragging rights, as his effort in the final moments of the last session saw him capture the fastest lap of the three days.
He headed team-mate George Russell, while Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and McLaren’s Lando Norris followed suit in third and fourth. Below you can see the top ten fastest lap times from the test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
For reference, last year’s Spanish Grand Prix’s pole position, set by Hamilton, was a 1:16.741.