The teams reflect as the penultimate day of the second pre-season test comes to an end.
On the penultimate day of pre-season testing, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport completed 182 laps, bringing the tally to 1,058 laps at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The team started the day with some aero work before focusing on building its understanding of the new tyres. In the afternoon, the team worked on its long-run performance with a race simulation.
Lewis was first behind the wheel of the W10, using the morning session to gather aero data and work on the tyres. Valtteri drove the car in the afternoon, completing a race simulation.
Lewis Hamilton: Today has been a good day - lots of mileage, which is great for us. It has probably been one of the most positive days for us, we've really learned quite a lot. We've been able to apply our learnings from the morning to the afternoon, so I'm looking forward to seeing how Valtteri felt, but the car looked like it was in a better place. Our understanding of the W10 is continuously growing so it was definitely a positive day.
Valtteri Bottas: We got a lot of laps in today which is always good. I did a race simulation which was interrupted by the red flag, but it confirmed the progress we've made since last week. We're getting more and more prepared for Melbourne, but there's room for improvement and still a few question marks on where we stand compared to the competition. We're focusing on our performance; the entire team is pushing really hard and keeps improving the car and that's all that matters. We need to maximise the last day of testing as it will be our final chance to try out a few things ahead of Melbourne. Today was positive and I'm hoping for another good day tomorrow.
James Allison: Today was a very productive day, either side of a trouble-free race distance we did a lot of good investigative work and in the race simulation itself, unlike yesterday where we failed to make the tyres live, we had good tyre behaviour across all three stints. We look forward to tomorrow where we will be investigating the range of tyre compounds and focusing more on single lap pace.
For the third day of Test 2 at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit, Charles Leclerc was at the wheel of the SF90. The Monegasque driver completed the planned programme, which consisted mainly of simulating key phases of a race weekend. Charles did a total of 138 laps.
Leclerc got down to work shortly after 9, trying various set-ups, before pitting to prepare for the simulation work. Before lunch, the SF90 was fitted with the soft compound tyres and Charles set his best time of 1:16.231.
Having done 56 laps in the morning, the team then began a race simulation in the afternoon. Charles took off from the starting place at the end of the pit lane and the full race distance went off without a hitch, with the mechanics getting in some pit stop practice. The car then pitted for routine checks, before getting on with the programme.
Shortly before the chequered flag to end the day, a small issue on one exhaust meant Charles had to park at the side of the track at Turn 9, but overall it had been a profitable day.
"It didn't look as though today would be easy, given that we had to make up for yesterday's lost time, but we got it done and that was very positive, especially as this was my last day in the car before Australia," commented Charles. "I am very happy because we worked really well. It's been an encouraging start to the season and I feel about ready. Now, I can't wait to take part in my first real Grand Prix with Ferrari."
Leclerc also talked to the media during the lunch break and gave an overview of the tests. "The SF90 is solid and the balance is good and consistent," he said. "That's been the clear impression right from the first day and it hasn't changed. I've still got a lot to learn, but up until now, I can say I'm satisfied. My lap time? Of course it's nice to top the time sheet, but it doesn't mean anything. What matters is that, lap after lap, I am getting more and more dialled in to this car"
For tomorrow's final day of testing prior to the Australian Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel will be once again at the wheel of the SF90.
The penultimate day of our final pre-season test was brought to an early end midway through the afternoon when Pierre crashed at Turn 9 of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Pierre was unhurt in the incident but car damage prevented any further running. The Team will conduct overnight repairs ahead of the final test day when Max returns to the wheel before F1 heads to the opening round of the season, the Australian Grand Prix.
Pierre Gasly: "We looked a bit more at performance today and we learned a lot. We still have a lot of work to do but overall we're pleased. I'm feeling good with the car and the package in general - the chassis and engine are really good. In the afternoon, I made a mistake in Turn 9 and lost the car. It was a pretty big crash, but I'm fine, a little bit shaken, but generally OK. I'm feeling more sorry for the guys in the garage. They have a long night ahead but the most important thing is that Max is back in the car tomorrow and we'll focus on the positives. It's not an ideal way to end the final test, but over the four days we managed to get lots of laps in and that was positive. We have good performance and we just need to understand how to maximise the package, so we bring the best car we can to Melbourne."
Guillaume Rocquelin, Head of Race Engineering: "The crash was simply a case of Pierre going slightly wide into Turn 9 and losing control. You're pretty much flat out there, so if it goes wrong, you're going to feel it. Thankfully Pierre is OK. We have a long night ahead of us in order to get the car ready for tomorrow, however today's incident shouldn't compromise our plans. Prior to Pierre's off, we had a good morning. We worked on how we manage a qualifying session, which is good knowledge for the driver and it gets the pit crew back in the zone. The incident was unfortunate but these things happen. We'll deal with it and move on."
Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean both saw time behind the wheel of the Haas VF-19 Thursday at Circuit de Barcelona - Catalunya, but technical issues were to hamper the team's hopes for sustained mileage on the penultimate day of testing.
Magnussen returned having set the team's highest single-day lap tally (131) to start the second week of testing on Tuesday. His half-day program Thursday was curtailed late-morning due to a programming issue with the brake-by-wire system. By that stage Magnussen had recorded 53 laps around the 4.655-kilometer (2.892-mile), 16-turn circuit. His fastest time of 1:18.199, shod on the C3 Pirelli compound, placed him 12th overall on the day.
Track time in the afternoon was ceded to an exhaust issue discovered on the VF-19 during the lunch break. A shortened run plan followed with Grosjean making his track debut just 45 minutes prior to the checkered flag. He set a best lap of 1:17.854 on C3 tires, good for ninth from the 13 drivers participating.
Grosjean and Magnussen will again share driving duties in the VF-19 on Friday as the second and final week of preseason testing draws to a close.
Kevin Magnussen: "We carried on with the program today and did what we needed to do. I was happy to get more laps in obviously. I'm still feeling good in the car and look forward to tomorrow's final afternoon of track time. The team's busy preparing for our last day testing, but we're all really looking forward to going racing now."
Romain Grosjean: "We had an issue that was discovered at lunch and it took a long time to fix. It wasn't the afternoon I was after. I'm now just focused on tomorrow morning and getting my last taste of the car before we head to Melbourne. Generally, we've made some great progress in testing. The car's showing us the limits, and where we can work, the baseline is very good. We're happy with that baseline and the car's performance. We haven't focused too much on lap times at the moment. Melbourne will come and eventually we'll put everything together for qualifying. Right now, we're learning the VF-19, discovering a bit more, and it's getting better and better. The feeling is good, as it was last year."
Guenther Steiner: "It's been a little disappointing today, we didn't do enough running. The morning was okay, we almost completed our planned program, but not so much the afternoon, where obviously we got very little done. Hopefully we're getting all our little gremlins over with here in testing, so we don't bring them to the races. That said, the last two days were good, so if we have a good day tomorrow, I think we'll be fine."