Formula One winter testing is now all wrapped up.
After 8 days of testing in Barcelona, everyone in the paddock is now trying to guess how well everyone has done, who are the main contenders and who could be struggling.
In the main, it’s a task filled with guesswork. 10 teams have completed 2 winter tests, completing thousands of miles of track time.
But they have all had their own plans, they have all had their own schedule and they have all done things their own way.
? Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) 26 February 2018
First day of testing done ❄️
So good to be back behind the wheel!
We focused on gathering aero data this morning. Was tought work to get the tyres in their optimal temperature window in these chilly conditions.#VB77 #F1Testing @MercedesAMGF1 pic.twitter.com/5nI3QSnzoH
? Valtteri Bottas (@ValtteriBottas) 26 February 2018
Mercedes enter the 2018 Formula One World Championship has the favourites, with Lewis Hamilton the bookies favourite to claim yet another drivers title, this would be his fifth, if he lives up to expectation.
It’s believed that Red Bull Racing may have closed the gap to Mercedes, whilst Ferrari have fallen behind. This all despite Ferrari setting the fastest times over the winter, Red Bull being behind not only Ferrari but also McLaren and Mercedes failing to set a time better than Renault, Haas and Toro Rosso!
? Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) 9 March 2018
So why do we believe Mercedes are still the clear favourites?
Mercedes completed 1,040 laps of Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, the equivalent of nearly 16 Spanish Grand Prix. A total of 3,008 miles.
Those totals, just like all recent pre-season testing schedules bettered all of their rivals.
The most worrying thing for Mercedes rivals was that the mileage was completed in frequent short runs, but they were completed via race simulations and just generally pounding around the track lap after lap after lap…..
?@F1 cars sound rub…? 🤫
? Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) 8 March 2018
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas both set impressive and consistent times during these long runs on the medium compound Pirelli tyre.
Mercedes were so focussed on their Sunday performance, that they didn’t even bother to attempt any low run fuel runs on the faster hypersoft tyre. A sign that could be rather ominous to the rest of the field.
‘We think we have learned that we are starting on a solid footing,’ mercedesamgf1.com.
‘It has been reliable, it has been predictable, it doesn’t overheat, it has been pretty well balanced, and it seems like it is fast enough to compete at the sharp end of the grid in Melbourne.’
He concluded: ‘We might pretend that we are focused only on ourselves – but we fool no-one, We look, in excruciating detail, at what the others are up to. Our strategists pore over all the available information, trying to deduce the pecking order from the patterns in the lap times and GPS traces.
‘The sadder ones amongst us even read the end of day press releases, trying to see between the lines of quotes for any hint that a team is sounding a little smug, or whistling to keep its spirits up.
‘Some of this we do because we are obsessives – because we love the sport and because we can’t help ourselves. But some of it carries real value.
Where do you fit in? Sad? Obsessive? Or just LOVE Formula One?
Which ever one it is, we don’t have long to wait now!
? Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) 9 March 2018