Formula 1: Red-Bull cars appears to be seconds faster than Mercedes Petronas during testing

Red-Bull appeared to be a 1sec faster than Mercedes, which was leading the pack at that time.

During three days of winter testing at Bahrain two weeks ahead of the race there threw up an intriguing picture, one in which the Honda-powered Red-Bull and AlphaTauri teams emerged as the star performers and in which Mercedes was struggling with a serious rear end instability problem which the Mercedes team couldnt immediately rectify.

But trickiest of all, in these three days the wind was gusty and wildly varying in both its strength and direction – which is something that can happen at a track surrounded by flat expanses not far from the tidal effects of the sea. It is that kind of wind which might be struggle for Mercedes and many other cars but not the Redbulls.

In testing Mercedes has run even qualifying simulations with significantly more fuel on board than it would if it were for real. The others usually tend to fuel as if it were racing actual qualifying. Adjusting for those assumptions and for the different compounds tire’s used when the best times were set, Red Bull appeared to be a 1sec faster than Mercedes, which was leading the pack at that time.

Both Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton since the beginning were complaining of an unpredictable and unforgiving rear end, something which was quite visible when they were on track, in contrast to the Red Bull which looked a vision of grip and balance.

Andy Shovlin, the Mercedes Engineer said, “We’ve made a bit of progress with the balance on higher fuel and the car was more predictable but we can see from the data we’ve collected over the last few days that on race pace, we’re not as quick as Red Bull. The lower fuel work was a more confusing picture, we didn’t gain enough and we need to go and look at our approach as far too many cars were ahead of us on pace today.”

Red-Bull Fastest lap: 1:28.960s (Max Verstappen, day three, C4 tire)

Lap count: 369

Mercedes Fastest lap: 1:30.025 (Lewis Hamilton, day three, C5 tire)

Lap count: 304

“Mercedes will face the challenge of finding more pace from their new car ahead of next week’s season-opening Bahrain GP head on, after F1’s serial world champions conceded they were not as fast as Red Bull in pre-season testing.” – Says Lewis Hamilton

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