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Pre-season test F1

How Mercedes stamped their authority on Day 2 of F1 testing

The world champions had a mighty day at the Bahrain International Circuit despite a spin for Lewis Hamilton in the morning. RacingNews365.com takes a closer look at Mercedes' impressive day in F1 pre-season testing.

Bottas Bahrain
Analysis
To news overview © Mercedes

Mercedes topped the timesheets with the fastest lap time of the Bahrain pre-season test yet on Saturday. However, Valtteri Bottas' 1:30.289 on the softest C5 compound tyre was not the most impressive thing about Mercedes' running in Bahrain.

After spending the first hour of the afternoon session in the garage, Bottas exited the pits and went straight into a race simulation. It was the two stints he did on the C2 hard tyre which should scare the field.

Bottas consistently lapped in the 1:36s before his fuel load decreased which allowed him to go even quicker to set consecutive lap times in the 1:35s.

The only driver that could match Bottas' times was Red Bull's Sergio Perez who also had an impressive race simulation in the afternoon, although it's difficult to compare given fuel load discrepancies and differing engine modes. Perez did 46 laps whilst Bottas did not do a full race simulation.

Mercedes' race simulations on Day 2

Lap number Bottas lap times (C2) Hamilton lap times (C2) Perez lap times
1 1: 36.105 Slow lap 1: 36.367 C2
2 In 1: 34.559 1: 37.376
3 Out 2: 07.189 1: 37.329
4 1: 35.724 1: 36.781 1: 37.999
5 1: 36.672 1: 36.574 1: 38.074
6 1: 36.424 1: 35.903 1: 37.596
7 1: 36.985 1: 36.748 1: 37.618
8 1: 36.613 1: 36.457 1: 38.114
9 1: 36.418 1: 36.956 1: 38.529
10 1: 36.289 1: 36.419 1: 38.877
11 In In 1: 38.692
12 Out out 1: 38.355
13 1: 32.895 1: 33.399 1: 38.032
14 In In (through pitlane) 1: 38.406
15 Out Out 1: 39.536
16 1: 35.627 1: 36.099 1: 38.755
17 1: 36.316 1: 37.527 1: 38.718
18 1: 36.162 1: 36.250 1: 38.024
19 1: 35.798 1: 36.579 In
20 1: 35.296 1: 36.422 Out C3
21 1: 35.487 1: 35.947 1: 36.467
22 In in 1: 36.707
23 1: 36.704
24 1: 36.81
25 1: 36.759
26 1: 36.951
27 1: 36.867
28 1: 37.058
29 1: 36.711
30 1: 36.54
31 1: 36.786
32 1: 36.678
33 1: 36.498
34 1: 36.786
35 1: 37.156
36 In
37 Out
38 1: 34.717 C2
39 1: 34.901
40 1: 36.145
41 1: 35.045
42 1: 35.207
43 1: 34.818
44 1: 34.878

Mercedes managed 114 laps between their drivers on Saturday, exactly two race distances of the Bahrain Grand Prix. Marinating a strong, consistent pace on a track which has traditionally been a 'tyre killer' is ominous from the world champions.

Lewis Hamilton appeared to have another troubled session, finishing the day down in 15th on a 1:33.399. The seven-time champion also had a spin in the morning which caused a red flag when he beached the car in the gravel trap.

It was a worrying sign but his lap times before and after the spin were impressive. His stint in the W12 went under the radar as many focused on his uncharacteristic mistake at turn 13.

			© Mercedes
	© Mercedes

Something else that will put a smile on Mercedes' face was the way Bottas eased himself onto a 1:30.460 on the C5 compound on his first attempt. He then went two tenths quicker to end the day in first place.

Mercedes look like they have dialled in the car after major handling issues on Friday. It's not the first time this has happened in pre-season testing.

In 2019, Ferrari looked untouchable whilst Mercedes were unable to find the optimum grip. But come the season-opener in Melbourne, Hamilton took pole position by 0.7 over Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel. Bottas then went on to dominate the race to take victory - the first of eight consecutive wins to start that year.

A crucial ride height change in pre-season testing last season was the trick they needed to get the most out of the car. Friday may have been Mercedes' worst test day in the turbo-hybrid era but they are already starting to catch up with the lack of track time they had on day one.

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