Max Verstappen looks back with satisfaction on the first days of testing in the run-up to the start of the Formula 1 season. The world champion completed 147 laps in the new Red Bull on the Barcelona circuit on Wednesday and 59 laps in the morning on Friday.
“I really enjoyed driving the RB18 this week,” said the driver. “The car has a nice, stable balance. It also looks good, so it’s fun to jump in.”
On the last of three testing days in Barcelona, the morning session had to be interrupted regularly. Verstappen could therefore ‘only’ complete 59 laps. “We couldn’t complete our entire program because of all those red flags,” said Verstappen.
Mercedes recorded the fastest lap times on Friday. Verstappen and his teammate Sergio Pérez were a few tenths slower than the rival, although according to the Limburger it says little.
“The positive thing is that the car shows no problems. I don’t look at the lap times, I only do that in the last part of qualifying for the first race in Bahrain. I just want to do as many laps as possible and learn every aspect of the car to understand.”
Regulation changes seem to be working out well, according to Max Verstappen
Due to regulation changes, the cars have changed quite a bit compared to last year. Verstappen was satisfied with the new cars.
“It seems that in these cars you can follow the driver in front a little more easily, although we will only know in the first race if there is really any change with the new technical rules. But my first thought is that we are taking a step forward with this .”
Three more test days are scheduled in Bahrain on March 10, 11 and 12. The first race will also be held there on March 20.
This is how the Formula 1 teams fared in Barcelona (Max Verstappen)
After three days of testing in Barcelona, a very cautious picture is emerging of how the Formula 1 teams stand towards the new season. NU.nl lists all formations, with a brief assessment of how they fared with the new cars at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Mercedes: 393 laps – fastest time: 1.19.138 (C5 tyre)
The constructors champion did exactly what can be expected of them in Barcelona. The pace gradually built up over the days. Newcomer George Russell fitted in flawlessly.
Reliability was fine. And on the last day Hamilton and Russell, albeit on the softest tires, showed that the speed is there too. Mercedes is very likely to come to Bahrain with a much improved car. In short, everything is running smoothly at Hamilton’s team.
Red Bull: 358 laps – fastest time: 1.19.556 (C4 tyre)
Red Bull kept the tension around their new car alive for a long time by only revealing the RB18 on the first day of testing. And then there were also extremely designed sidepods. So it’s no wonder that Max Verstappen’s new car was an important topic of conversation in Barcelona.
But the car is more than that. At high speed, the Red Bull looks very stable and Verstappen seems to be able to do what he wants with it.
The fast times also rolled out, without having ridden on the softest tires. Just like Mercedes, Red Bull is also coming to Bahrain with a major update. Verstappen has cautiously good papers to participate in the front again in 2022.
Ferrari: 439 laps – fastest time: 1.19.689 (C3 tyre)
After Ferrari made a huge impression during the test days in 2019 and then disappointed in the season, caution is needed. But the Italian team makes a strong impression. The F1-75 is without a doubt the most talked about car, and that’s not just because it’s a beautiful creation.
Just like Red Bull, Ferrari has not yet driven super-fast laps on the soft tires. However, a lot of kilometers were made and a new car from Maranello was included from the start.
There are enough omens to think that Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz can regularly compete for the podium places in 2022.
McLaren: 367 laps – fastest time: 1.19.568 (C4 tyre)
The new McLaren is not the most impressive design, but Lando Norris certainly could handle it well on the track. Whether that is also enough to connect with the top is the question.
There is still too little to deduce from the test days, but the expectations surrounding McLaren are not the same as those surrounding Ferrari (if they are justified).
Alpine: 226 laps – fastest time: 1.21.242 (C4 tyre)
Certainly after Fernando Alonso parked the new Alpine next to the track on Friday, smoking a lot, his team is one of the worry children.
The A522 has not been driven extremely much and Alonso and teammate Ocon also did not go extremely fast, probably because the new Renault engine was not yet fully capable. Work to be done at Alpine.
AlphaTauri – 308 laps – 1,19,918 (C4 tyre) (Max Verstappen)
Except for a push from Pierre Gasly on Friday, the test days for AlphaTauri went well. Due to the Frenchman’s slip, there was less driving on the final day. The car also makes a solid and stable impression, as usual with the Italian formation. That’s enough to think Red Bull’s sister team could be back up front in midfield.
Aston Martin – 296 laps – 1,19,824 (C5 tyre) (Max Verstappen)
Friday could not be finished at Aston Martin either, after Sebastian Vettel had to stop the car with considerable smoke development. Until then, the British team – somewhat under the radar – had good days of testing. At first glance, the car doesn’t look like a direct attack on the top, but certainly with all the staff the team has hired, a better season than 2021 should be in it.
Williams – 347 laps – fastest time: 1.20.318 (C4 tyre)
That operating under the radar also went well for Williams. A lot of laps, no dizzying times, but a car that certainly looks good and stable in the hands of Alexander Albon. Purely based on the action on the track, the Williams does not seem like a sub-topper in the making, but perhaps an aggressive development trajectory can change that.
Alfa Romeo – 175 laps – fastest time: 1.21.855 (C3 tyre)
The new Alfa Romeo was the shadow of the winter tests. That was because the car drove around in camouflage colors, but especially around the C42 was relatively little to see.
Wednesday was dramatic, Thursday was slightly better, and Friday Guanyu Zhou spun off the track twice. Valtteri Bottas said the potential is there. It is hoped for the Finn.
Haas – 160 laps – fastest time: 1.21.512 (C3 tyre)
The American team would have imagined the test days very differently. The car had the necessary problems and was therefore little in action. In addition, there was also a lot to do for the team as a result of the war in Ukraine, which means it is likely to lose sponsor Uralkali and driver Nikita Mazepin. The team wanted to take a step up, but for the time being it does not give the impression that it can actually be taken.
JOIN US ON WHATSAPP