Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya

Mercedes and Ferrari end test closely-matched

2018 F1 season

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Mercedes and Ferrari were separated by less than a tenth of a second at the end of the second day of in-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari test drive Antonio Giovinazzi both broke into the 1’16s, though they ended up well off last weekend’s pole position time of 1’16.1.

A late effort by Lando Norris moved the McLaren driver up to third place, just over a second off the pace. He stopped on track earlier in the session, bringing out the red flags, due to what McLaren said was a minor settings error.

Sean Gelael had an extra session in the Toro Rosso due to his disrupted run yesterday, before handing over to regular driver Pierre Gasly.

Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLaps
177Valtteri BottasMercedesW091’16.904139
299Antonio GiovinazziFerrariSF71H1’16.9720.068148
347Lando NorrisMcLarenMCL331’18.0391.13580
420Kevin MagnussenHaasVF-181’18.2741.37075
542Nikita MazepinForce IndiaVJM111’18.3441.440112
645Jack AitkenRenaultRS181’18.9422.038120
716Charles LeclercSauberC371’18.9932.089139
840Robert KubicaWilliamsFW411’19.2532.349123
910Pierre GaslyToro RossoSTR131’19.4102.50639
102Stoffel VandoorneMcLarenMCL331’19.9143.01096
1126Jake DennisRed BullRB141’20.4403.53675
1238Sean GelaelToro RossoSTR131’20.7633.85983
1334Nicholas LatifiForce IndiaVJM111’21.4124.508121

2018 F1 season

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Keith Collantine
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  • 22 comments on “Mercedes and Ferrari end test closely-matched”

    1. Kubica faster by 4 tenths from Saturday’s fastest Williams driver, Sirotkin.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        16th May 2018, 17:40

        I really don’t think testing shows that much. Practice is more realistic to what the race pace may be and Bottas was nearly a second faster than Hamilton one Friday session for Spain. If Williams really believed Kubica would be significantly better than Sirotkin, I think they will have gone for him this year. But as I said in one of my recent posts, if Kubica is a reserve driver, then he will clearly be fit to race and keep up to date. So I think a year of training to drive with the William’s set-up will make things more likely that he may race next year.

        1. Also, let’s not forget that the tyres used in this test had the ‘normal’ tread depth, i.e. they weren’t necessarily comparable to those used during the GP weekend.

          1. Oh, and Nikita Mazepin happened to be over 3 tenths faster than Saturday’s fastest Force India driver. Goes to show how much these results ought to be taken with a grain of salt.

            (Mazepin and Kubica used the Hypersoft for their fastest laps, which, in addition to having a different tread depth, is two steps softer than the softest tyre available on Saturday).

      2. ‘Kubica slower by 23 tenths from today’s fastest drivers.’
        Also irrelevant during testing.

      3. To put a Williams within a second of a HAAS, FI and a Renault is an achievement regardless of the tyres/strategy/fuel he or the others were on.
        Its fair to say now hes more than capable of driving these cars to the highest standard and IMO better than 80% of the current drivers and if he doesn’t get a drive very soon it’ll be a disgrace.

        1. I like Kubica.. but you can’t take his testing times to seriously. He was on the hypersofts while others could have been doing longer runs.

          He’s quicker than both the Williams drivers though… which isn’t saying much also because they’re the two most rubbish drivers on the grid currently.

          So, it’s actually kind of hard to gauge where he’s at.

        2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          17th May 2018, 9:35

          There have been plenty of occations where a Williams has been within this distance of a Hass, Renault or FI in qualifying. And if I’m honest, that is a more true reflection of the speed than testing.

          In Bahrain, both Williams drivers in Q1 were under a second behind Grosjean. In Chana, Both Williams drivers were under a second behind both FI, Renault and 1 of the Hass cars. In Baku, Williams were ahead of both Hass cars. This must be mighty impressive with these “terrible drivers”. Not that I think that, but if you think Kubica was impressive with his time, I think you should be happy enough that at least Stroll generally has good starts and had climbed up the order this year in most races.

          I don’t see what is that impressive about Kubica when it is just testing.

          1. @thegianthogweed, basically, the only reason it is being hyped up so much is because it is Kubica – if it had been any other driver, most posters here probably wouldn’t have cared less. I wouldn’t even be surprised if, had it been Sirotkin or Stroll who set that lap time, the posters here would probably have derided it as a rubbish time.

            It seems that a lot of posters just want to take the lap time on face value because they want to spin a particular narrative – as nase notes, by the same logic that most posters in this thread seem to be applying, apparently Force India should sack Ocon or Perez and replace them with Mazepin, since his best lap time was faster than the best qualifying times they set by a similar margin.

            Similarly, as also noted by nase, Kubica’s time was set on a hypersoft tyre, suggesting it was on a pretty short run – Pirelli did note that the hypersoft was effectively only really usable around Barcelona for a single quick lap, since it is really designed for low speed circuits, so it would be used pretty much like the old qualifying special tyres.

            All in all, without the context in which that time was set, that single headline time is pretty meaningless – as you say, it’s also questionable whether it is actually that good a time to begin with given that Kubica had the advantage of driving at a circuit that was much more heavily rubbered in, and therefore potentially in more favourable conditions than Stroll or Sirokin had during qualifying.

            Equally, if we were to take Gerhard’s logic, then apparently Sirotkin’s time in the first qualifying session was a great achievement given that his time was within a second of what the two Force India drivers could achieve during the same session.

            If anything, when you look at how far Sirotkin was behind the two Force India drivers in that first qualifying session, he was able to get fractionally closer to Ocon and Perez than Kubica was able to get to Mazepin (Kubica was 0.91s behind Mazepin, whereas Sirotkin was 0.88s behind Ocon’s Q1 time). By his logic, therefore, we would have to conclude that Sirotkin was getting slightly more out of the car than Kubica has been able to do – which mainly shows the absurdity of that logic more than anything else.

      4. I fear we have to give up on our hopes for Kubica racing again in Formula 1…

        I love the guy to bits and nothing would make me happier than Robert getting another season racing in F1 but I think we have to face the facts: at least three teams overlooked him over other drivers for the current season. Williams, Renault, Toro Rosso and Sauber all changed their driver line-ups, therefore all those deals had the possibility to take on the Pole. I would say, considering the Ferrari deal, Sauber were never going to sign anyone other than Charles Leclerc. So that leaves three teams who did not think Kubica was fast enough anymore. You can argue it may have been a money issue for at least one of the teams; but not all three. Two teams tested Kubica multiple times and compared him to other drivers – and they chose not to sign him.

        Robert has been hired by Williams for his know-how and technical feedback skills, primarily to help develop the car, and also as a back-up to fill the gaps inherent to racing with a very inexperienced line-up. His skills are not in dispute; it is very obviously his speed that is now in question. And, I am afraid we just have to face the fact that the question was answered in pre-season testing.

        @mrflatout87 @thegianthogweed @coldfly @todfod

    2. pastaman (@)
      16th May 2018, 18:19

      Whenever I want to see Gelael’s times, I just start at the bottom of the list and work my way up.

    3. Sean Gelael had an extra session in the Toro Rosso due to his disrupted run yesterday, before handing over to regular driver Pierre Gasly

      You are joking. You’re giving someone, who’s clearly pays you for the test and has no hope of a race seat in F1 through pure merit, more than twice the number of laps you’re giving your race driver? Franz is either off his rocker, or Dietrich has probably started cutting back, maybe even looking to sell STR. I would have understood if they gave the test to a Fukuzumi or a Makino, given their Honda links, but Gelael? Come on…

      I know his father has helped finance the careers of several racers, notably Giovinazzi from 2013-16, but Prema have their worst ever GP2/F2 lineup ever this year, and we’re seeing the results, while more talented drivers like Ghiotto and Fuoco are having to drive for much worse teams.

      Speaking of Giovinazzi, good to see him complete a clean two-day test with two different teams, without incident. He needs to keep himself ready and relevant, especially if the likes of Grosjean and Sirotkin continue to underperform. Alongwith Rowland and Wehrlein, he’s probably one of the favourites to be the beneficiaries of any mid-season changes.

      Hoping for the tyres used for the fastest lap to be updated. I wonder if the hypersofts were able to handle the lateral load that this circuit has to provide, without going off in the final sector.

      1. In regards to your question on tyre usage, Sky F1 have done an article covering the test and the tyres used for each drivers fastest laps from day 2 are in there.
        Bottas Supersofts, Giovinazzi Hypersofts, Norris Softs, Magnussen Hypersofts, Mazepin Hypersofts, Aitken Mediums, Leclerc Hypersofts, Kubica Hypersofts, Gasly Mediums, Vandoorne Prototypes, Dennis Mediums, Galael Softs, Latifi Prototypes.

        1. Thanks Ryan!

          Norris’s 1:18.0 on softs is seriously impressive. It wouldn’t be too far off to conclude he’s probably better than Alonso and Vandoorne over one lap. Of course, it’s not completely accurate to compare across sessions, especially a few days apart, but even so this is really good. Vandoorne needs to step it up or he might find himself shafted, especially if Norris wins F2 in dominant fashion.

          1. Doesn’t look like it will be in a dominant fashion as Russell is easily keeping him honest.

            But seriously what is Van Doorne doing??
            Utterly brilliant in GP2 and nowhere in F1…
            Still, if anyone can help him perform better it’d be Boullier

            1. Have you compared the times on the 2 days with the drivers in the same package? Guess not. Check it and judge again on Vandoorne.

          2. I was watching testing times, and to be honest the soft nearly as fast as supersofts and hypersoft, which we also saw in qualifying, when ferrari and redbull switched to the slower compound and went faster! Morris was slower on the faster tyres.

          3. @wsrgo I wouldn’t come to any conclusion. The only thing it may show is that McLaren is fine-tuning its package and it seem to deliver. That Norris is faster than Alonso could only be verified in a qualifications session (which I doubt but it’s opinion). As for Vandoorne he need to step up indeed as so far he’s still to outscore Alonso (what a nightmare).

      2. @wsrgo IIRC someone said that Gelael actually give a very good feedback although he’s not fast enough to race. So maybe he got more time because STR need the feedback.

        1. @sonicslv I wasn’t aware of that. If that is indeed the case, Gelael could find a snug Badoer-like role with a team in F1, whilst also supplying the KFC sponsorship. That wouldn’t be too bad for a cash-strapped midfield team.

          1. Only that testing is so limited these days. He did well in this test, did what the team asked of him.

    4. Off topic but did we get a stats article for the Spain GP yet? I can’t find it and I feel like they are normally out by now.

    Comments are closed.