“It is clear to everyone that we are not the fastest. Ferrari seems to be the fastest or maybe the Red Bull. Then maybe we or McLaren,” says Hamilton. Long-term winner Mercedes really only fourth force – or is Hamilton stacked deep again? The Brit’s face is serious: “We’re not at the top right now. It’s still too early to worry about the World Cup, but at the moment I don’t think we’ll be fighting for victories.”
Ferrari turns the most laps
As slim and fast as the Mercedes looks after the engineers’ recent lean craze, the car’s problems on the track are obvious, at least in Bahrain: understeer makes life difficult for the drivers in the corners, but the W13 always hops on the straights still too much.
At least the mileage is right: With 778 laps spread over the three days in Barcelona and Bahrain, Mercedes turned the second most laps of the test winter. Only Ferrari comes ten more and, together with the fast times of Leclerc and teammate Carlos Sainz, underpins the Scuderia’s upward trend. Red Bull occupies fourth place in the kilometer-eater statistics with exactly 100 laps fewer than Mercedes, only B-Team AlphaTauri does one lap more.
Mick Schumacher’s Haas team came last in what is perhaps the most important category of test drives (since the teams are known to often trick with the injection charge when it comes to pure lap times): With 364 laps, the US troops completed by far the fewest of the six test days. Schumacher is flagged down on Saturday after a spin in the finish corner, which causes a red flag, but in which the German does not damage the car, initially in eighth place.
Curious: After the official end of the test, Haas is allowed to continue testing alone with a special permit, because the team lost valuable time on the route on Thursday due to missing parts due to late air freight.
At the end of the regular test, Sebastian Vettel in the Aston Martin placed two places behind compatriot Schumacher in tenth place. Like his buddy in the Haas, the Heppenheimer is on the road in the afternoon, both Germans finish well ahead of their stable mates in cooler and therefore faster conditions. The red lantern goes to F1 returnee and Schumi stable mate Kevin Magnussen during the last warm-up before the start.
Next weekend, Formula 1 will start the 2022 season on the spot with the Bahrain Grand Prix.
F1 test in Bahrain, result day 3:
2. Leclerc (Ferrari) 1:32.415 – 51 (C4)
3. Alonso (Alpine) 1:32.698 – 122 (C4)
4. Russell (Mercedes) 1:32.759 – 71 (C5)
5. Bottas (Alfa Romeo) 1:32.985 – 68 (C3)
6. Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) 1:33.002 – 57 (C5)
7. Perez (Red Bull) 1:33.105 – 43 (C4)
8. Schumacher (Haas) 1:33.151 – 57 (C3)
9. Norris (McLaren) 1:33.191 – 90 (C3)
10. Vettel (Aston Martin) 1:33.821 – 81 (C4)
11. Zhou (Alfa Romeo) 1:33.959 – 82 (C4)
12. Gasly (AlphaTauri) 1:34.865 – 91 (C4)
13. Sainz (Ferrari) 1:34.905 – 68 (C5)
14. Albon (Williams) 1:35.171 – 18 (C3)
15. Latifi (Williams) 1:35.634 – 124 (C3)
16. Stroll (Aston Martin) 1:36.029 – 53 (C3)
17.Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:36.217 – 78 (C5)
18. Magnussen (Haas) 1:38.616 – 38 (C2)