The first two practice sessions for the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona has come to an end with surprising results from Mercedes and other teams.
Circuit de Catalunya is not an easy circuit for cars to overtake, and does not have many long straights to work in some team’s advantages, yet, F1 released Power Rankings on straights (powered by AWS) to show cars’ performance on straights.
Many were shocked to see that it was led by George Russell in the Mercedes, and followed up by the seven time World Champion Lewis Hamilton, who was only 0.03s slower than his teammate.
This is amazing news for Mercedes fans, as they have had a rough start to the year due to all the porpoising, and now they seem to be performing again.
The end of FP1 saw George Russell on P4 and Lewis Hamilton on P6, but by that time, none of the teams had had a qualifying simulation on softs.
FP1 had Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz on the top of the table, followed by Max Verstappen on P3.
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Although George Russell did complain of Mercedes still “bouncing”, he said that it was somewhat “under control” and the spectators obviously noticed a lot of improvements in the car.
The Power Rankings were then followed up by Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari, who was no more than 0.05s slower then George. This perhaps happened because the tyres on both the Ferraris had started to wear out by the end of the session, as the drivers commented, and it is guessed that Ferrari might as well follow a two-stop strategy during the race.
Next came a surprise for Vettel fans as Sebastian Vettel placed 4th on the rankings while being only 0.10s slower than Russell. Aston Martin have had much upgrade for this Grand Prix, mostly with their aerodynamics, which has given them the nickname of “green Red Bulls.”
The final name on the list is Max Verstappen, similar to Vettel, he chased Russell with 0.10s slower gap. This came as a surprise because as we saw, Red Bull have had incredible speed on straights for all the races this season.
Mercedes start to hit the top of the grid again with new upgrades
The biggest surprise that came out of the two sessions has been Mercedes. They have struggled since this season started and now, it seems, they have managed to make their car competitive enough to battle the top cars once again.
After a very long time, George Russel and Lewis Hamilton have managed to hit P2 and P3 post the practice sessions, and taken out both the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, who finished the session on P5 and P7, respectively.
Charles Leclerc finished at the top of the post FP2, with Carlos Sainz dropping to 4th.