After their one-two finish in the Bahrain Grand Prix, Mercedes were again the winners after the two-day test which took place in midweek.
It was no surprise that the Mercedes cars topped the timesheets on each day of the test, with championship leader Nico Rosberg driving on the Tuesday and race-winner Lewis Hamilton on the Wednesday.
It was Hamilton’s time of 1m34.136s which was the fastest of the two days, but it was about a lot more than times set for the teams. A valuable opportunity to collect much needed data as they continue to get to grips with and develop their new cars.
The first of four mid-season tests which have been introduced this year and it was a lot more successful for some teams than others, highlighting the early position each team finds themselves in at the current moment.
While Mercedes emphasised their dominance over the rest of the field, completing the most amounts of laps with 239 over the two days, the struggles of others were evident.
Ferrari’s disappointing start to the season was compiled by their second day session coming to an abrupt end after just 12 laps due to car damage.
Fernando Alonso drove both days in the car and it is a great opportunity lost for the team whose cars were overtaken with such ease by the Force India’s last weekend. It is clear that there is work to be done and updates will be essential as supporters become restless. Especially with such a talented driver line-up.
Speaking of the Force India’s, it was another strong step in the right direction for a team who are in good condition. Second and fourth fastest on the two days. With the Mercedes engines so strong and their driver line-up an exciting one, another positive result will be likely in China as they appear to be the closest challenger to Mercedes right now.
As for Red Bull, who are awaiting the verdict of their appeal of Daniel Ricciardo’s Australian Grand Prix disqualification, it was not a test which displayed competitive speed, with Ricciardo, who drove for both days, fifth and sixth fastest overall. But it is another 156 laps worth of data in the teams’ pursuit of Mercedes, as they look to embark on their fifth straight constructors’ title.
Other points of note included Lotus’ dreadful progression. Last year a race-winning car, this year they are nowhere near on the pace. 32 laps completed between the pair of Pastor Maldonado, who collected a five-place grid-drop for China and three points on his super licence, and Romain Grosjean who will feel he has the ability to be driving way further up the field than the car is allowing him to.
There were laps in the car for teams’ reserve drivers, with Robin Frijns and 18-year-old Sergey Sirotkin driving for Caterham and Sauber on the first day. Giedo van der Garde posted 77 laps in the Sauber the next day while Felipe Nasr tested for Williams. Formula One rookies Kevin Magnussen, Marcus Ericsson and Daniil Kvyat were also able to get another session in a Formula One car and some vital experience under their belts.
In conclusion, the tests did not reveal too much, just reiterating what the initial race shown us. Despite that, the laps of data collated and the further minutes in the car in a less-restricted scenario will be priceless to the teams who head to China for the fourth Grand Prix of the season.
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