I recommend you read analysis from the first Formula 1 test in Jerez before reading this post.
The second test in Bahrain is all over and I’ll start by saying this; Red Bull may not finish the first race in Australia and dare I even say it, the second race in Malaysia. Red Bull, over the four days only managed 137 laps and that is nowhere near enough testing for a car that, this year, is so different to the last. Now, let’s not write off Red Bull, this is the team that has dominated Formula 1 for the past four years but all these technical changes are proving to be a big challenge for them.
Now, let’s say Red Bull had one or two troublesome days in testing, we’d all say that’s expected because of all the new rule changes, however, Red Bull didn’t have had one or two troublesome days, in fact, they had eight. Red Bull may look calm under the collar but they know they’ve got their work cut out. That is why I said at the start Red Bull may not finish the first two races because they haven’t managed to put in one full race simulation. That is where we move on to Mercedes.
Testing in Bahrain has been all about Mercedes. Although Hamilton won’t admit that they are ahead of the field, they are, and they are way ahead of Red Bull at the minute. On the final day, Rosberg put in the fastest time of the whole test, a 1:33.283 which was 1.7 seconds ahead of Button in 2nd and a massive 6 seconds ahead of the Red Bull. Not only have Mercedes been quick, they also managed a couple of race simulations which, at this point early on, is very impressive.
McLaren are one of the other teams that look impressive. Magnussen put in the fastest time on day two and overall, McLaren managed 541 laps over the four days. On day three, Button put in an impressive 103 laps with no issues. We also saw Grosjean and Maldonado on the track for the first time as Lotus missed the first test. Lotus are the only team to go with the two-pronged nose and it’s not clear whether the design will pay off. On the final day Maldonado managed 59 laps and over the four days managed 111 laps which isn’t bad considering they missed four days of testing.
The third and final test gets underway on the 27th of February in Bahrain. Mercedes are the favourites going into the first race of the season, and yes, I know we still have one test left, but it’s safe to say Mercedes are the team to beat. This test was all about Mercedes and for very different reasons about Red Bull too. Can the team that won the Constructors title four times in a row bounce back? There’s less that a week until we find out.
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