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Who are F1's 'happiest team' ahead of Bahrain testing?

Ahead of F1's second pre-season test in Bahrain next week, F1 analyst Jolyon Palmer has identified the team he thinks are the most satisfied after last week's three-day Barcelona session.

Former F1 driver turned broadcaster and analyst Jolyon Palmer says he thinks Ferrari are the happiest team after the first three-day pre-season test session at Barcelona concluded last week. After a winless couple of seasons, the Scuderia started 2022 in a positive fashion by completing the most laps of any team in Barcelona, logging 439 tours of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya without any major reliability concerns. While Charles Leclerc's best time of 1:19.689 was slower than those set by Mercedes, Red Bull and McLaren drivers, the Monegasque was using a harder tyre compound than those three teams, and set his time on the third tour of a 17-lap stint, meaning his F1-75 would have been heavier at the start of that run.

Ferrari picked out as the early benchmark

"Ferrari looked hooked up from the word go," Palmer told Formula 1 's official YouTube channel. "In previous years, when the Ferrari got out of shape, you'd think [the driver] is about to crash, but now they get out of shape and they can still lean on it. "Particularly Charles Leclerc, he's got these slight drifts on the corner exit, so it looks like he's got confidence in the car. Carlos [Sainz] looks to be a little bit smoother, but is still getting some good pace out of the car. "Reliability has been superb for them as well, with so much mileage, [so] I think Ferrari are the happiest team of the test so far." Palmer's comments echo those of AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda, who told RacingNews365 .com after the Barcelona test that he thought Ferrari were the team to beat .

Palmer reckons McLaren are also in good shape

Another team looking to return to happier times in 2022 are McLaren. After a barren few seasons, the Woking-based squad scored their first win since 2013 at last year's Italian Grand Prix, and Palmer reserved praise for the team's early progress at Barcelona. "I went out early on day one, and my first glimpse of a car was the McLaren coming towards me, Lando [Norris] at the wheel, and I thought, 'These cars are really nice, actually'," said Palmer. "I thought they'd be a bit more cumbersome. And it turned out the McLaren particularly was looking really nice at that point. "Lando was hooked up from the word go, really. I think he's carried on some momentum, and it looks like he can place the car really well, the rear end's holding, but he's [also] got a bit of sharpness and directness at the front of the McLaren, and he's going well."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Spanish Grand Prix - Qualifying