The teams and drivers have left behind them the second session of collective tests with many kilometres run and the best time set by Sebastian Vettel (1’16″221) in front of Lewis Hamilton (1’16″224) who was three thousandths ahead of team mate Charles Leclerc (1’16″231) and Valtteri Bottas (1’16″561) in the second Mercedes.
Mercedes was also the most active in the last four days with 580 laps, breaking the thousand lap barrier (1,190) in the eight days of tests (148.75 laps/per day) in front Ferrari’s 997 laps (124.62 laps/day) and Renault with 961 laps completed. We must go down to eighth place to find the Honda powered Red Bull with the pair of Verstappen-Gasly that completed 833 laps (104.12 laps/day).
“The figure that came out of the last session is the coming together towards the higher times with ten –twelve drivers enclosed in a gap of less than a second,” commented Gian Carlo Minardi.
“It is not easy to establish a ranking but I have the impression that Mercedes has space for improvement after having set the best time only in the last five minutes. Ferrari showed that it has a competitive car and is on a level with the current champions, even if there were problems of reliability.”
“In Melbourne in ten days time the bluffs will end and we will finally see the true forces on the field. I expect to see a very hard fought qualifying”.
As for the choice of tyres, a certain alignment emerged. Nearly all the drivers opted for 9 C4 (Soft) mixes, 3 C3 (Medium) and 1 C2 (Hard). Amongst the top teams, only Leclerc differed with 2 C2s and 2 C3s.