Mazepin’s Mercedes ahead by 1.3s at end of test after spin

2019 F1 season

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Nikita Mazepin was over a second quicker than the Formula 1 field in his first test for Mercedes at the Circuit de Catalunya.

However the 20-year-old Formula 2 driver was two-tenths of a second off the best time of the test, set yesterday by Valtteri Bottas. He also had a brief spin early in the day’s running, though it didn’t stop him completing more laps than any other driver.

Mercedes’ championship rivals were found further down the times sheets. Alexander Albon was second-quickest for Toro Rosso.

Ferrari test driver Antonio Fuoco was third, less than a tenth of a second faster than the team’s other car, driven by Charles Leclerc, who was on Pirelli tyre test duty. Kimi Raikkonen competed the top five for Alfa Romeo.

Among the other test drivers on duty in the final say of the test were Jack Aitken for Renault, Nick Yelloly in the Racing Point again, Dan Ticktum for Red Bull, Nicholas Latifi for Williams and Oliver Turvey and Sergio Sette Camara for McLaren. However the latter’s programme was curtailed when McLaren had to end their test early due to a technical problem. Car trouble also limited the amount of running Red Bull and Williams were able to do.

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Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLapsTyres
121Nikita MazepinMercedesW101’15.775128C5
223Alexander AlbonToro RossoSTR141’17.0791.304110C4
332Antonio FuocoFerrariSF901’17.2841.509120C4
416Charles LeclercFerrariSF901’17.3491.574127Prototype
57Kimi RaikkonenAlfa RomeoC381’17.3931.618110C5
645Jack AitkenRenaultRS191’17.6211.84675C4
720Kevin MagnussenHaasVF-191’18.1012.326106C3
834Nick YellolyRacing PointRP191’18.2122.43783C5
940Nicholas LatifiWilliamsFW421’18.5732.79888C5
1024Dan TicktumRed BullRB151’19.4583.68379C3
1148Oliver TurveyMcLarenMCL341’20.7124.93752C3
1218Lance StrollRacing PointRP191’20.7454.970119Prototype
1347Sergio Sette CamaraMcLarenMCL341’21.5655.79019C2

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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40 comments on “Mazepin’s Mercedes ahead by 1.3s at end of test after spin”

  1. Well, 0.2s off the race driver, who we know only a few days ago set a 1:15.4 (with quali mode of course, guess they didn’t here, but track evolution) that’s doing quite well it seems, certainly not a bad showing (yeah, the spin, but, how often has he driven the car? indeed).

    1. @bosyber compound more than conditions: C5 during testing while was C3 IIRC during quali

      1. Yeah, realised that after looking at the times a second, eh, time (hm, pity racefans doesn’t include the compound used here).

        1. Basil (@flyingbasil)
          16th May 2019, 8:39

          @bosyber still a valid point. If you look at other drivers who did their best time on C5 you will see that they improved by around 0,4-0,5. Mazepin was slower than the best Mercedes in Q3 by 0.3. This puts him around 0,7-0,8 behind Bottas’s time in Q3, but only 0,2 behind Hamilton that had “party mode”. Yes, other cars also have special modes for qualy, but we all know that Mercedes brings the most difference in speed with it, so you have to account something for it, too. For a rookie doing a test drive, I’d say that is a mighty time.

          1. Oh, I agree (though the HAM Q3 lap wasn’t an example of doing a great job, was it …) it just makes it slightly less obvious that he seemingly did a good job @flyingbasil!

  2. The fun fact is that Mazepin (which is nowhere in F2 field) could had won in Barcelona in a Mercedes. I don’t know what will be F1 future if nothing changes. It’s not that interesting to see engineers competing against each other.

    1. @miani just shows how damn good this years Mercedes is.. if some were not convinced yet that this years championship is over for anyone but MB, this performance should seal that!

    2. F1 is, and always was, as much about the team as the driver. The best drivers and the best teams gravitate towards each other.

      If you want to watch a spec series, there are plenty to choose from. F1 is unique and should stay that way.

      A way for the for the manufacturers to compete against each other with the best drivers. It was always thus, and should always be.

      There is only one F1, and it’s only real problem with competitiveness is money distribution.

      1. I know F1 is a team competition and I apreciate it and I want to stay like that. But the appeal of the competition is much more about the drivers, if nothing changes soon it will have no audience, and then no commercial relevance, and that will be the end.

        1. Lol same story since the begining of F1. But here we are, bigger than ever. F1 will be around forever.

          1. Ambrogio Isgro
            15th May 2019, 20:59

            no, it’s not the same story, and no, f1 isn’t bigger than ever right now, it was during the ’00s, now sponsors are going away or investing less money than before, teams are just ten, surpass are only possible with the drs aid, engine manufacturers don’t want to compete in and the average audience is one of the oldest compared to other sports.
            until the end of the ’00s here in Italy many people were watching f1, now I find hard to have a conversation about it as anyone dismiss it and prefer motogp and find it dull.
            but yes carry on and on in this way…

          2. @Ambrogio Isgro sounds more like Ferrari’s failure than F1 to keep the Italian fanbase in the sport. Maybe they were never F1 fans but FERRARI fans to begin with.

          3. F1 is NOT bigger than ever and in fact there’s major issues, especially in attracting younger viewers and sponsors.

            I’ll say it for the millionth time, there has to be parity, there has to be closer racing and a chance for others to win. What they should do is go back to V8 engines, which everyone knows how to build and build close to the same, have a standard transmission and less complex aero packages.

          4. @jblank, and yet, weren’t there many who complained that, in making the engine so unimportant during the V8 era, it made the sport even more heavily aero dependent because that effectively became the only performance differentiator?

          5. BlackJackFan
            16th May 2019, 3:10

            anon – very good point.

        2. Miani is of course correct and he understands exactly what I’ve been saying for over a year now. If the sport doesn’t become more competitive, it will die. The fans of today don’t have any desire to watch Merc win every race.

          1. Irrelevant, anon, at this point, they need to abandon the hybrid stuff, shrink the number of areas where advantages can be engineered, and make it more of a drivers series. This is not good racing.

          2. @jblank, why is it irrelevant when such moves in the past have created discontent amongst the fan base? Similarly, given that we have seen complaints about the sport becoming too much of a spec series with the proposals for increased standardisation of parts, I cannot imagine that doubling down on that path is going to win much support.

            Whilst people want closer racing, they also want it to come from cars that are diverse in performance, not through increased standardisation.

    3. Well that’s not quite true @miani, because it was decided at the start, and I doubt he could have pulled it of the way either Hamilton got the great start and inside line, or the way Bottas managed to not crash with his teammate when his front wheel was mere centimeters away from HAM’s rear wheel (or with Vettel on the other side); nor that he would have kept that wobble afterwards in check as Bottas did to retain 2nd (nor would he likely have fared better than Vettel through T1,T2).

      So, while it might have gotten him onto the front of the grid, it’s those ‘small’ things that show good car control and judgement, which so far he hasn’t to my recollection been showing in F2, that might have gotten him the lead. I think he would have crashed, with Verstappen/Leclerc fighting for the win (like in 2016?).

    4. Neil (@neilosjames)
      15th May 2019, 21:28

      It’s only a ‘fun fact’ if you also believe Lance Stroll’s 1:18.4 in qualifying on Saturday was a freak lap, 2.3 seconds quicker than he was actually capable of going.

    5. @miani @dubsix @sham @lums @gufdamm @jblank BlackJackFan @bosyber @neilosjames

      I’ve only ever watched F1 but this season I’ve started watching F2 and F3. Holy moly, those races are fun! Everything I’m missing in F1 is there in those feeder series. Similar cars, cars that can follow each other, almost a lottery who will land on pole position and who will win a race. Sheer entertainment.

      Although some engineers are obviously better than others and get more out of the cars, the gaps are not ridiculous. Often there are huge snakes of cars zipping around corners, following each other. 10, 15 cars following each other with only centimetres between each other (at least it looks like that on TV!).

      I’ve already got some favourite drivers and I’m always keen to see how they will do at the next session. It really feels like anything can happen, it’s so open.

      Last weekend I watched the qualifying and race sessions of all 3 series. By far the least interesting session of all I watched was the F1 race. There is something very wrong with that sport, although I love it to bits. I don’t think I will ever be able to tear myself away from watching it, but boy, is it boring compared to the feeder series in similar machinery.

      The Constructors’ Championship does nothing to help the spectacle of F1. Quite the opposite. I’d like to see a lot more restrictions on car development and on mandatory shared parts. Will this fundamentally change the ethos of F1? Yes, for the teams, probably. Is this such a terrible prospect? Not in the eyes of this spectator.

  3. Well then, all things being equal, we now know that this years Mercedes is easily 1.5 sec/lap quicker than the next best car. Looks like its between HAM and BOT this year.
    Also, congrats to Williams for not being dead last. They must have found a big improvement. I don’t thing they went into the 1:18s range all weekend.

    1. I think you are right about Williams @careypatrick, but, like Mercedes, they were on the C5 compound; we don’t know exactly how much faster that is than C3, but we know that Mercedes can clearly go that much faster still, given they just about equalled their Q3 time.

  4. The same Mazepin who is 16th from 20 in the current F2 ranking…

    1. to be fair, he was let down by the car and the team on a few occasions when in the points this season. Last race is a prime example, where he came out of pits ahead of Guanyu Zhou, who finished third, just to retire the car next lap. Sometimes it’s worth actually watching the races. He’s not setting the world alight, but also not so bad for a rookie.

      1. F2 races are actually much more fun than that of F1 at the moment, also.

    2. Certainly dilutes Hams championships doesn’t it… Talk about being given then on a plate!

      1. Obviously the performance of the Mercedes this year can be retrospectively applied to all the other championships, including with McLaren, and we can totally ignore any team mate opposition, or Ferrari being more or less on the same level. Brilliant thinking.

      2. From these lap times we can also tell that the Torro Rosso is faster than the Ferrari.

  5. Can someone enlighten me as to why a driver of Mazepin’s quality gets to drive that Mercedes?

    1. because Ocon and Russel, who are Mercedes juniors, are not rookies anymore and the rules state that each team have to use a driver in testing that has not yet raced in 3 F1 GPs

      1. @gechichan
        While true, this doesn’t answer the question as to why it has to be “a driver of Mazepin’s quality”.

  6. HansieSlim (@)
    15th May 2019, 22:14

    The official F1 website states that Leclerc was fourth quickest and not Pierre Gasly, that Leclerc was the one doing official tire testing for Pirelli and that Kimi did more than 100 laps as opposed to the 86 listed in this article……

    These are just some of the inaccuracies that I identified

    1. Apologies an earlier version of this article included the ‘lap on which fastest time was set’ data in place of the ‘number of laps completed data’. This has been rectified.

      The information I have from Pirelli is that Leclerc and Stroll were doing tyre testing today. This is why their tyre types are listed as ‘prototype’ in the table.

  7. Wow, Oliver Turvey! There’s a blast from the past. Did he qualify as McLaren’s “young” driver on account of never making a race start? He’s got to be one of the most experienced in terms of F1 test hours to have never raced.

    I wonder why other teams aren’t jumping on the band wagon of 30 something experienced ex-test drivers who never made the step up to race drive?
    I’m sure Gary Paffett wouldn’t mind a final swan song and the chance to be called a young / development driver again (although he’s contracted to Mercedes in DTM).
    Even Andre Lotterer would still qualify, and would probably be pretty top notch with his feedback!

  8. I just think this is stupid. Nothing against Mazepin, he did great, but, for a driver from F2 to just step in a Mercedes or any F1 car and be able to bang in fast and/or consistent laps means to me there is something wrong in F1. Its getting way too easy which for a fan is frustrating. These cars need a huge change

  9. @johns23

    German Engineering my good sir . . .

    Only thing wrong is other teams cannot build a beast like the Merc

  10. nah, fake news! I believe Toto who says how much ahead Ferrari is to Mercedes…NOT! :)

  11. That W10 is clearly a cut above all other cars – as if any further proof were needed… That a journeyman F2 driver is a mere 0.264 seconds off BOT’s time puts into perspective the problems HAM is currently experiencing in his failure to extract ultimate performance from the car.

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