Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Mercedes end test on top after last-gasp effort by Verstappen

2020 F1 season

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Valtteri Bottas’s Mercedes headed the final pre-season test day of 2020, though the top three cars were covered by less than a tenth of a second.

Max Verstappen was second-fastest for Red Bull, gradually lowering the team’s best time of the test with a series of runs on increasingly soft tyres throughout the afternoon. However his final effort on C5s failed to produce the improvement which might have lifted him to the top.

Renault were third-fastest courtesy of the time Daniel Ricciardo set during his morning run in the car. Esteban Ocon took over the RS20 in the afternoon and ended the day sixth behind Lewis Hamilton in the other Mercedes.

Charles Leclerc spent the whole day in the Ferrari and covered a massive 181 laps – nearly two-and-three-quarter race distances.

The day’s other solo runners included Sergio Perez, seventh fastest for Racing Point, followed by Carlos Sainz Jnr’s McLaren, George Russell’s McLaren and Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTauri.

Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLapsTyres
177Valtteri BottasMercedesW111’16.19679C5
23Daniel RicciardoRenaultRS201’16.2760.08065C4
316Charles LeclercFerrariSF10001’16.3600.164181C5
433Max VerstappenRed BullRB161’16.2690.07345C5
544Lewis HamiltonMercedesW111’16.4100.21490C5
631Esteban OconRenaultRS201’16.4330.23775C5
711Sergio PerezRacing PointRP201’16.6340.438154C5
855Carlos Sainz JnrMcLarenMCL351’16.8200.624163C4
963George RussellWilliamsFW431’16.8710.675146C5
1026Daniil KvyatAlphaTauriAT011’16.9140.718160C4
118Romain GrosjeanHaasVF-201’17.0370.84186C4
127Kimi RaikkonenAlfa RomeoC391’17.4151.219115C5
1323Alexander AlbonRed BullRB161’17.8031.60759C4
1420Kevin MagnussenHaasVF-201’17.4951.29929C3

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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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27 comments on “Mercedes end test on top after last-gasp effort by Verstappen”

  1. Verstappen put the brakes before the finish he was 3 tenths faster in the first sector on C4. Cant wait for quali in Melbourne. I’m actually more curious where Ferrari will be though.

    1. @Jin More likely just lifted off, though, rather than actually applied the brakes.

      1. @jerejj yeah, the first try, on C4 he made a mistake in the chicane, and on the last, on C5, he made a mistake before that. So not easy getting Bottas time in those circumstances with the red bull

    2. Don’t be hopeful, Max was spectacular but he didn’t hooked up a perfect lap besides the car was understeering a lot on s3. Max was encouragingly on a harder tyre but the mercs were really really down on power.

    3. Verstappen never tested the C5..only the get ur facts straight pls

  2. While there’s obviously no real conclusions to draw from testing times, Verstappen being quicker on a slower tire on a colder track before lifting off to come in slower across the line has me optimistic for this season. Could be a banger.

    1. Me too. Without knowing what exactly to think of RBR’s standing after testing, I have this gut feeling, ok maybe it’s just big hope for Max, that they’re going to be really strong this year, at more than just specific venues too.

  3. I think there is more speed in at least the top-3 teams.
    Otherwise F1.5 would be all but gone: Ocon was 0.237 off on C4 (vs Bottas on C5); Perez 0.438 and Kvyat 0.718 slower on the 2-step harder C3’s.

  4. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    28th February 2020, 18:10

    Keith something is wrong with the order – Max set the 2nd fastest lap but is ranked 4th in your overview.
    Also that time of 1:16:269 Max set on C4 not on C5 to my knowledge.

    1. I was trying to figure that out myself. The table had me more excited for Renault than reality probably permits.

  5. Cristiano Ferreira
    28th February 2020, 19:02

    Did McLaren ever used C5 tyres for their best laps yet? Every time i check, i see that their best laps across all 6 days of testing were doing using C3 and C4 compounds. Is that correct?

    1. Their best time is a 1:16.8 on the C3 tyre. Their long runs look really good. Car seems stable and friendly on the tyres. I’m not ruling them out for being the 4th team in Melbourne. Quitte anonymously they’ve racked up over 800 laps, without a single failure. They’ve only really pushed this morning, and not with qualy loads either. They seem very confident and happy about their car.

      It would be best for F1 if they were to be ahead of PM.

      1. Cristiano Ferreira
        29th February 2020, 1:38

        As a McLaren supporter i feel happy to know that, which means they still have more pace in the car once they put the C5 compound. :)

        I hope they wipe the floor with Racing Point in Melbourne.

    2. You’re right. Their best time was set on C3 (1:16.822, I don’t count the C4 lap which was only two thousands of a second faster), their stints with C4 were very brief and I would actually say that also C3 runs were rather limited. McLaren clearly hasn’t extracted everything from this compound. No serious business with C5 at all.

  6. Captain required : does anyone know if LEC’s 181 laps breaks the testing record which I believe was held by Rosberg?

    1. It was held by Vettel last year I believe with 169 laps. And it is now Leclerc’s, if I’m not mistaken.

  7. I’ll wait for the racing to start to see who is fast and who isn’t.

    1. Better wait for the finish to make up your mind.
      Or the last race… or next year.. or..

      1. My guess…Mercedes, RBR, Ferrari, Mac, in that order, then who knows…

  8. Eye witnesses told on Twitter Max slowed down a lot in his fastest lap before crossing the line.

    For what it’s worth

    1. Yup…his car was so fast it scared him;)

  9. The way Max braked just before the finish tells me they wanted a really quick time but not one officially on the board. Redbull can calculate what that last lap would have been had he not braked. So they know he could have been a couple of tenths faster than everyone else today. Does that mean it’s the fastest car? Not sure since Bottas did a significantly faster time in week 1. I do feel this year Mercedes has a fight on their hands. Hopefully the tension of a close championship fight will be with us all year long.

    1. So can everyone else calculate what his lap time would have been. It’s so pointless to break before the flag.

      1. And although it’s indeed pointless to break before the flag, so it is to brake before the flag.

        1. @spafrancorchamps Ferrari did something similar in 2017 I believe. And some journalists got pretty upset with that, saying stuff like “Do they think we’re idiots?!”.

        2. I see what you did there. Both are true.

      2. @spafrancorchamps: no team has the exact data about the deceleration, but Redbull does. So no not everyone can calculate exactly what the time would have been…

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