Nikita Mazepin tests for Mercedes

Mercedes continues form in Barcelona testing

Following on from its fifth consecutive 1-2 finish at the Spanish Grand Prix, Mercedes continued to impress at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya by topping the timesheets in testing.

It was Valtteri Bottas who topped the time sheets on the opening day on the softest C5 compound, a 1m15.511s lap putting him 1.711s ahead of Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari, although the Monegasque’s time was set on the hard C2 compound.

The aim of the game, as always in testing, is testing new parts, developing tyres, data gathering and giving young drivers experience of Formula One. As such, there were several new faces on track over the two days, Nick Yelloly testing for SportPesa Racing Point and Callum Ilott trying out the Alfa Romeo for size. And it didn’t all go according to plan for the latter, the Ferrari junior driver crashing heavily at Turn 3 but emerging completely unscathed.

“It just completely snapped back on me,” Ilott is quoted on ESPNF1, “It was out of nowhere and then I backed into the wall. It was probably the biggest off I’ve ever had – so a record breaker for me on my first day in F1!”

Mercedes continued its dominance on the second day, Russian F2 driver Nikita Mazepin topping the charts with a 1m15.757s lap on the soft C5 tyre, impressively 1,3s quicker than Alexander Albon on his first outing for the team although he did earlier spin into the gravel at Turn 12.

Ferrari simulator driver Antonio Fuoco was third quickest from Kimi Raikkonen, Jack Aitken’s Renault and Kevin Magnussen’s Haas. Fresh from his Monaco Formula E outing for the NIO team, Oliver Turvey was also in action for McLaren, setting the tenth fastest time ahead of the second McLaren of Sergio Sette Camara.

For Acronis partner team Racing Point, the session was a useful data gathering exercise as they look to get back to points scoring ways in Monaco next weekend.

“It’s been a useful session,” commented Brad Joyce, head of trackside performance. “Lance has driven the Pirelli car today and completed the full programme for them. With Nick in the test car, we focused on long-term aero development and correlation work. He’s done a good job – driving well, giving accurate feedback and not putting a foot wrong. Monaco is a very different circuit to Barcelona, but we’ve gathered a lot of data during this test which will be useful next week and for the races beyond.”

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.