So the testing is over and that clock really is starting to count down to the start of the 2015 F1 season. Another four days of testing have completed the pre-season jigsaw and it looks very much like that seen last year with Mercedes again looking dominant.
Take a look at some of the quotes produced by opposing drivers and that point is totally confirmed. Jenson Button described Mercedes as “unbelievably quick”, Sebastian Vettel admits “its clear Mercedes are in front”, while Felipe Massa commented: “They’re quick. We know they’re quick. It’s not a surprise that Mercedes have a very good package.”
Well let’s hope that we don’t see a series of Mercedes 1-2s as we did in 2014. What is interesting though is the fact the interviewed drivers all seem to agree that Mercedes aside, there isn’t that much between many of the competing teams. Driver Romain Grosjean said: “Mercedes are far ahead and then it seems to be quite tight behind.”
There is plenty of evidence available that shows just how superior Mercedes are at present. A race simulation time by Lewis Hamilton was more than 0.8 seconds a lap faster than that being recorded by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo. The final testing saw Rosberg and Hamilton lapping at much faster times even though they weren’t on the faster tyres their opponents were using.
For McLaren-Honda the final testing period was another one full of problems. On the first day, the team had to abandon testing after just seven laps due to a hydraulic leak in the Honda engine. Jenson Button might as well go on ‘Mastermind’ with the specialist subject of Barcelona garages, he’s seen plenty of them during February. A lack of meaningful practice and failure to race at full racing speed has caused McLaren plenty of nightmares.
Day two saw McLaren run 100 laps, half of what they had managed in the previous nine days of testing. Button’s best time was 2.798 seconds behind Rosberg’s fastest lap which shows just how much work they have to do to be anywhere near competing. Button does feel that we’ll see “a lot of improvements out of us before Melbourne.” Racing Director Eric Boullier believes it may take until the fifth race of the season for his team to become more competitive.
Williams will be fairly pleased with their performances with both Massa and Bottas setting good times but still failing to challenge Mercedes. Day two saw Bottas post the second fastest time but 1.2 seconds behind Rosberg in the Mercedes. They appear to be ahead of Ferrari but it looks to be pretty close between them and Red Bull at present.
This week the F1 cars begin their long trip down under and then the excitement really will begin to increase. I’ll be back with more blogs before then as our preview of the new season continues.
Pillow’s TOP 3 Game is now open for the season.
You can find all the details at: http://www.pillowmotorsport.co.uk/pillow-f1-grand-prix-top-3-game/