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Barcelona pre-season test 2022

Winners and losers after the first day of F1's Barcelona test

We have now seen all 10 teams out on track with thousands upon thousands of miles covered by 15 of the sport's 20 drivers - and one reserve - but who were the winners and losers after the first day of testing in Barcelona?

The opening day of Formula 1's new era is over as the sun sets on day one of pre-season testing in Barcelona.

All 10 teams put their cars out on track for their rivals to see with 15 of the sport's 20 drivers - and one reserve - sharing track time, including 2021 title enemies Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

But who have been the big winners and losers from the first day of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya?

Winner: Red Bull and Verstappen

It has been a fine first day of the pre-season for Max Verstappen and Red Bull, both for preserving their design secrets and extracting the absolute most from them over the course of the day.

No driver completed more laps on Wednesday than the 2021 World Champion (147) but it was the striking new design of his RB18 that had tongues wagging in the paddock during the morning session.

The Red Bull car was nothing at all like the one that was unveiled to fans earlier this month, taking on an aggressive new sidepod design amongst a list of other interesting technical concepts.

It remains a mystery how the Milton Keynes-based team, led by Christian Horner, were able to keep their 2022 car under-wraps, despite having already taken it for a spin during a filming day at Silverstone.

As for the pace of the new RB18, it placed in the middle of the pack, but little can be learned from one-lap pace on day one.

			© RN365/Michael Potts
	© RN365/Michael Potts

Loser: Haas and Schumacher

There were plenty of fans excited to see the new Haas VF-22 in action in Barcelona, following a 2021 season that saw them focus entirely on developing their new 2022 beast.

Could they be the team to get their car right and fight, against the odds, with the sport's biggest players?

Sadly, Gunther Steiner's team managed only 43 laps on day one with much of their afternoon session halted by damage to Mick Schumacher's floor.

Due to this setback, Schumacher completed only 23 laps, with a best time of 1:22.962, while his teammate Nikita Mazepin managed just 20, with a best time of 1:24.505.

Winner: McLaren and Norris

It can never be a bad thing to end the day at the very top of the timing charts – and that is where Lando Norris left his McLaren MCL36.

The talented youngster, now into his fourth pre-season as an F1 driver, counted 103 laps as he pulled into the pits at the end of the day to see that he had set the two fastest times of the test so far.

He became the first driver to dip into the 1m19s late in the day before smashing his own time by close to half a second in the final moments, putting in a 1:19.568.

McLaren's pace will not go unnoticed and their opening day went off without a hitch (a brief stoppage in the pit lane aside).

			© McLaren
	© McLaren

Loser: Alfa Romeo

Much like Haas, Alfa Romeo struggled to get their car on track on day one in Barcelona.

During the first four hours of running, the Italian team were only able to complete seven laps with reserve driver Robert Kubica behind the wheel.

Suspected floor problems were the cause of their frustrating morning, during which they could not have learned an awful lot about their new car.

Valtteri Bottas fared better during the afternoon – but even he only managed 23 laps on day one of what could prove to be a difficult test for Alfa.

Winner: F1's biggest teams

There were fears amongst the big teams heading into the new era of F1 that the sport's technical regulations overhaul could bring a Brawn GP-style fairytale, with a backmarker interpreting the rules expertly to bypass their big-money competition.

After day one of testing in Barcelona, it looks like it is in fact F1's biggest teams that have the best handle on their cars.

McLaren appeared both quick and reliable, while Ferrari were able to complete more laps than any other team as their drivers placed second and third on the timesheets.

Mercedes also enjoyed a problem-free day with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton winding up fourth and fifth respectively, after completing a combined 127 laps.

And an honourable mention must go to Williams which, after many a painful pre-season, completed a not-to-be-scoffed-at 137 laps on track, more than Mercedes, Alpha Tauri, Aston Martin and McLaren.

Also interesting:

With F1 pre-season testing getting underway in Barcelona this week, our journalists Dieter Rencken, Mike Seymour and Thomas Maher look ahead to what to expect.

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