Mercedes stir, but here come – and go – Ferrari

Date published: March 1 2019

Valtteri Bottas: In action for Mercedes

It’s the final day of testing before Australia…and Mercedes may just be showing us a little more of their hand.

But first, the all-important line-up of drivers banking their final laps before the new campaign gets underway in a couple of weeks.

McLaren have made a point of being one of the first teams out on track throughout the testing period. Friday was no different.

Carlos Sainz

Sebastian Vettel was back in the Ferrari car for the final day. Hopefully he avoid another incident like this…

Mercedes were not interested in getting involved in the pace wars on Thursday, but Friday morning saw them up their speed. Bottas posting a 1:17.101 on the C4 compound.

Bottas re-emerged on the quickest C5 tyres and began to drop down into the 1:16 bracket as we approached the final hour of the morning session.

Valtteri Bottas

But then, with the lunchtime break looming,  Sebastian Vettel decided to join the party…

And Vettel wasn’t done there, make way for a brand new fastest time of testing! A 1:16.221 – one hundredth quicker than his new team-mate Charles Leclerc set on Thursday.

Danny Ric has something to say during the lunch break…

Bring your lad to work day over at Alfa Romeo…

Leading the pack after the lunch break, Vettel brought out the red flags when he stopped at Turn 3. Pace gets a tick, reliability not so much.

Rumour has it he ran out of fuel…

Turned out it was an electrical issue and Ferrari called an early end to testing.

Red Bull had a few troubles of their own…

Lewis Hamilton replaced Bottas for the afternoon session and was quickly into the laps. He put on the C5s late in the day and went second, 0.003s down on Vettel.

Final red flag of the pre-season belonged to Kevin Magnussen who stopped out on track at Turn 4.

But the final P1 belonged to Vettel, despite his troubles.

More to follow…

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