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Testing concludes... to the sound of Johnny Nash

NEWS STORY
10/03/2017

Though 'He Could See Clearly (Now)', American singer Johnny Nash also admitted that 'There Are More Questions Than Answers'.

As testing concluded at the Circuit de Catalunya this afternoon, it was hard to get Nash's 1972 hit out of your head, for indeed, after eight days of testing, there are more questions than answers.

The Ferrari duo head down under having set the Barcelona pace, but how much more does the SF70H have in reserve. Other than three spins for Kimi Raikkonen, and a couple of other 'niggles' the car has been faultless.

Sebastian Vettel dismisses the thought of the Maranello team heading to Australia as "favourites" and while we have reservations, it must be said the Scuderia is looking good, indeed it's looking very good.

Today, as was the case yesterday with Vettel, when Raikkonen went quickest, there was that gut feeling that he – and the SF70H - had more to give.

And was it an omen, that only moments after he spun off, word came through regarding the death of Ferrari legend John Surtees.

Mercedes also has pace but we are still not sure how much, certainly compared to the Ferrari. What we do know is that it is bulletproof.

Like (almost) every episode of Breaking Bad, Mercedes has left us with a cliff-hanger, and it will be later this month before we see the next twist in the saga.

As was the case yesterday, all the fast laps were posted in the morning, with the only changes to the timesheet order coming from those drivers who weren't on duty earlier.

Having set a strong pace this morning, Max Verstappen missed much of the afternoon with a turbo issue, only appearing for the final ninety minutes.

The RB13 has pace but it also has issues, and many of those appear to emanate from the power unit. Please god we don't have to go through all that again.

Another strong day for Toro Rosso, and despite being the cause of a late red flag, Carlos Sainz not only completed 132 laps - joint best with Lance Stroll - he was third quickest.

Indeed, while we ponder the possibility of a titanic battle between Mercedes and Ferrari, the midfield is looking as though it could be highly entertaining also.

Between them Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton added another 107 laps to Mercedes tally, bringing the German outfit's total beyond a thousand. 'Read 'em and weep', you might say.

Once again, Renault split driving duties between its drivers, and thankfully this afternoon Jolyon Palmer didn't suffer the various 'niggles' that have caused him such frustration for much of the week.

Both he and Nico Hulkenberg posted competitive times, though there remain concerns over reliability.

Another strong day also for Williams and Lance Stroll, the Canadian completing another 132 laps, the mistakes of those opening couple of days a distant memory.

Note also that Stroll's best time today - good enough for ninth - was set on softs, this at a time the opposition were on supersofts and ultras. Indeed, his time was better than his previous best on the purple-banded rubber.

A water leak brought Romain Grosjean's day to an early close, which, if nothing else, took his mind off the brakes. Haas has had an up and down pre-season but let's not forget this is only the team's second year.

The American outfit's cause wasn't helped by a spin (brakes?) early this morning and a stoppage on the back straight just before lunch - two of six red flags today

Deep breath.

Fernando Alonso finished eleventh, ahead of both Saubers, but that says more about the Swiss team than McLaren-Honda.

It was another pretty awful day for the Woking team. Two red flags this morning and this afternoon the Spaniard only managed another 24 laps.

The weirdest thing was when the MCL32 popped up fourth in the speed-trap, but in all honesty this was courtesy of a tow from Stroll.

In total the Spaniard completed 43 laps, and as we said earlier, at a time others are carrying out race simulations, the longest stint the MCL32 has managed is 11 laps.

Sadly, unless there is a major turnaround, McLaren - and its fans - faces 2015 levels of pain again this year.

Both Saubers were over 3s off the pace, but with the team's obvious limitations this was about what we expected.

We now head to Melbourne where 'all will be revealed'. In previous year it has been pretty obvious that Mercedes already had a hand on the trophy, this year, who knows.

Is it wishful thinking that Ferrari - anyone - might give the Silver Arrows a run for their money? And we ask that not as an F1 site looking to see its stats rise as fan interest increases ahead of the Melbourne showdown but as fellow F1 fans.

Indeed, as we look ahead to Melbourne and beyond, as far as the order is concerned, let's hope that Ferrari and Red Bull can follow Johnny Nash's advice and... Stir It Up!

Weather: sunny and dry; air 13 degrees C - 25 degrees, track 15 degrees - 33 degrees

Check out our Friday gallery from Barcelona, here.

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