Track pictures from day two of Barcelona testing

Jamie Woodhouse
Sergio Perez driven away in Barcelona. Spain, February 2022.

After an opening day of mixed fortunes at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, it was time to do it all again for day two of three.

Defending World Champion Max Verstappen had set the benchmark for laps completed on Wednesday, recording a staggering 147 in what was an ideal start to his pre-season running.

He handed over the RB18 to team-mate Sergio Perez for Thursday, while Daniel Ricciardo was in action with the MCL36 for the first time.

Alfa Romeo and Haas, meanwhile, looked to bounce back from their respective reliability woes from Wednesday.

Let’s take a look at the 2022 challengers in action…

Morning session

Ricciardo said he had acquired a new-found excitement for testing this time around, and it showed as the McLaren driver waited at the pit exit for the light to go green on day two.

That excitement took Ricciardo all the way to the top of the morning standings, with a best time of a 1:20.355 on the C3 tyres. He had just shy of eight-tenths to find on his team-mate Lando Norris’ Wednesday benchmark.

Daniel Ricciardo testing for McLaren. Spain, February 2022.

Sainz was quick to follow Ricciardo onto the track, the Spaniard picking up from where he had left off after a strong afternoon session on day one when he set the third fastest time.

It seemed his 1:20.546 would set the morning pace before Ricciardo put a stop to that.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, testing with aero rakes. Spain, February 2022.

After Yuki Tsunoda had kicked off the Barcelona running in the AT03 on Wednesday, Pierre Gasly could finally leave the pit wall, where he had been marvelling at the new challengers, and get behind the wheel.

Sixty laps on the board for the Frenchman by lunchtime and the third fastest time.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, drives down the pit lane. Spain, February 2022.

In a role reversal from Wednesday, Lewis Hamilton was first up for Mercedes, although it took until over an hour into the session for the Briton to take to the track in the W13.

He had completed 50 laps on the opening day, with another 40 added already by the Thursday break.

Although he finished the morning session down in P9, speed was not the focus with his best time, a 1:22.562, coming on the C2 tyres.

Lewis Hamilton powers down the Barcelona straight. Spain, February 2022.

Hamilton is very much set on competing for that record eighth Drivers’ title in 2022, but hoping to play more of a role in that conversation this time around is Perez.

With reigning champion Verstappen having the Red Bull RB18 to himself on Wednesday, for day two it was Perez behind the wheel.

But while it was a trouble-free Wednesday for Verstappen, sadly Perez was not so fortunate, grinding to a halt midway through the morning session and triggering the red flags.

The reported gearbox issue was soon dealt with by the team though.

Sergio Perez in the RB18 with a yellow flag behind. Spain, February 2022.

 

Having managed only 23 laps on what was a troublesome opening day for Haas, Mick Schumacher was back out on the track come Thursday morning and looking to make up for the time lost due to floor damage.

He did exactly that, completing 65 laps – only Alpine’s Esteban Ocon clocking up more with 66.

Mick Schumacher testing the Haas VF-22. Spain, February 2022.

Bottas was confident Alfa Romeo’s Wednesday woes would be behind them, but it took until almost halfway through the morning session for the Finn to head out in the camouflaged C42.

He managed only 21 laps.

Valtteri Bottas tests the camo Alfa Romeo. Spain, February 2022.

Afternoon session

After Lance Stroll had handled AMR22 business in the morning for Aston Martin it was over to Vettel for the afternoon session, the four-time former World Champion having been a vocal figure earlier in the day in relation to the future of the Russian Grand Prix.

But with his focus back on driving, Vettel was able to deliver a 73-lap stint.

Sebastian Vettel exits the pits. Spain, February 2022.

Also out and about on the track was Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou, a historic moment as the first Chinese driver on the Formula 1 grid made his first on-track appearance as part of the Alfa Romeo line-up.

He embarked on some ‘push’ laps from the off, completing 19 laps in under an hour of track time. He finished with 71 completed, compared to team-mate Bottas’ 21. Far from ideal for the Finn.

Guanyu Zhou drives the camo Alfa Romeo C42. Spain, February 2022.

The laps were being pumped in but that sadly did not apply to Perez, who remained in the Red Bull garage deep into the session following the gearbox issues he encountered late in the morning.

Sergio Perez drives the Red Bull RB18. Spain. February 2022.

Nikita Mazepin was also out of luck for although his afternoon session in the Haas VF-22 had started well, he soon hit another roadblock in the form of a “damaged fuel pump” as the team stated, bringing out the red flags as he stopped on track.

A second interrupted day for the Russian racer.

Nikita Mazepin returns to the Haas garage. Spain, February 2022.

There were no such issues for Ricciardo who was flying along, taking his lap count for the day to 126, second only to Gasly with 146 laps completed.

Charles Leclerc snatched the fastest time of day two, but this is turning into a very encouraging shakedown for the McLaren team already.

Flow vis paint on Daniel Ricciardo's McLaren. Spain, February 2022.

A smooth and productive day for Alpine’s Ocon too, who despite a lack of interest in attacking the timesheets did pump in 124 laps.

The same could be said for Williams, Latifi adding 61 laps to the 47 completed by Albon in the morning.

Nicholas Latifi follows Esteban Ocon. Spain, February 2022.

Delivering a 1:19.689 on the C3 compound to top the afternoon session, Leclerc one again showed that at this stage Ferrari seem to have the pace.

And just like McLaren, the reliability is there too, especially encouraging considering that Ferrari went searching for strong performance in their power unit as well as the chassis.

Could Ferrari and McLaren start out at the teams to beat in 2022?

Charles Leclerc in the F1-75 close-up. Spain, February 2022.

Mercedes’ George Russell certainly reckons so, concluding that from the averages he has seen, the Silver Arrows are behind Ferrari and McLaren.

He would set the fourth-fastest time on Thursday afternoon, but crucially said that he had not suffered from ‘porpoising‘ in the W13 as others had.

Could that prove the key strength that sets Mercedes apart in these opening rounds?

 

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