Bottas just ahead of Verstappen on the final day of testing

by Sudha Sundararaj

Valtteri Bottas topped the time charts on the final day of testing at the second pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain. Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo rounded off the top three positions on a day when teams showed their one lap pace.

The Mercedes team had a solid day of testing after the previous day was disrupted by reliability issues. In the morning session, Lewis Hamilton completed 90 laps and was fifth on the time charts. Bottas added another 79 laps in the afternoon session and the chart-topping lap time of 1m 16.196s.

Verstappen with a last gasp effort at the end of the session in the afternoon put his RB16 within 0.073 seconds of this lap time. Ricciardo had earlier ended the morning session at the top of the time charts before being pushed down to third position.

Verstappen and Alexander Albon combined for 104 laps on the day for Red Bull Racing. Verstappen and Albon had some adventures with spins, but Verstappen ended testing with a fast lap time.

On a good day of testing for the Renault F1 team, Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon completed a total of 140 laps and the third and sixth best lap times.

Charles Leclerc completed the most laps of any driver as Ferrari topped the lap count with 181 laps. Leclerc was second on the time charts in the morning session behind Ricciardo, before being pushed to fourth position by the end of the day.

The form of the Racing Point F1 team and the performance of the new RP20 challenger which is a clone of the Mercedes W10 of last season has been the talk of winter testing. Sergio Perez with 154 laps was seventh on the time charts.

Carlos Sainz was second in the lap count to Leclerc with 163 laps and eighth position on the time charts to complete one of the best pre-season tests in recent seasons for the McLaren F1 team.

George Russell was able to put in sufficient mileage for the Williams team with 146 laps and a decent lap time of 1m 16.871s to finish in ninth position on the time charts. It has been an improved showing for the Grove-based team after hitting rock bottom last season. Russell tested a new rear wing and did a lot of aero testing for the team on the final day of testing.

Daniil Kvyat with 160 laps and the tenth best lap time of the day ended winter testing for the newly rebranded Scuderia AlphaTauri team on a solid note.

Romain Grosjean in spite of an excursion off track managed 86 laps and eleventh position on the time charts. But Kevin Magnussen lost a lot of time with a clutch problem and completed only 29 laps in the afternoon session for the Haas F1 team.

Kimi Raikkonen completed 115 laps and was in twelfth position on the time charts for the Alfa Romeo Racing team. The Finn had a spin in the morning session as he completed aero work for the team.

The real pecking order will emerge only at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne in two weeks time (13 – 15 March 2020). The Mercedes team had a solid winter testing even though some question marks emerged about their power unit (PU). Red Bull Racing focused on their long run pace which was solid as usual.

Ferrari did not show their hand but offered glimpses of their form with Vettel’s chart topping time on the penultimate day. The Racing Point team will go into the first race as a favourite to lead the midfield teams.

Results of Day 6 of Pre-Season Testing:

PosDriverCarTimeGapLaps
1Valtteri BottasMercedes1m16.196s-79
2Max VerstappenRed Bull/Honda1m16.269s0.073s45
3Daniel RicciardoRenault1m16.276s0.080s65
4Charles LeclercFerrari1m16.360s0.164s181
5Lewis HamiltonMercedes1m16.410s0.214s90
6Esteban OconRenault1m16.433s0.237s75
7Sergio PerezRacing Point/Mercedes1m16.634s0.438s154
8Carlos Sainz Jr.McLaren/Renault1m16.820s0.624s163
9George RussellWilliams/Mercedes1m16.871s0.675s146
10Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri/Honda1m16.914s0.718s160
11Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari1m17.037s0.841s86
12Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo/Ferrari1m17.415s1.219s115
13Kevin MagnussenHaas/Ferrari1m17.495s1.299s29
14Alexander AlbonRed Bull/Honda1m17.803s1.607s59

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