Testing offers few clues

Sebastian Vettel ruled in Barhain. Photo: Andrej Isakovic/AFP.

Sebastian Vettel ruled in Barhain. Photo: Andrej Isakovic/AFP.

Mercedes led the way in terms of ground covered and minimal problems.

Pre-season testing is done, but do we know much more than last week regarding the pecking order for 2019? Not really.

What is significant is the higher reliability shown by most of the teams and significantly increased distances covered, compared to last year’s weather-afflicted sessions.

Mercedes led the way in terms of distance and minimal problems, apart from an oil-pressure issue in the first test series. Lewis Hamilton’s last runs at the end of day eight demonstrated the W10’s ability in the speed department, finishing just 3 000ths of a second behind quickest man Sebastian Vettel.

Ferrari was next up with four fastest laps and the second-longest distance. A wheel failure for Vettel and a few minor technical issues – in cidentally, the sudden stop on the last day was on instruction from the pit wall, having discovered an electrical problem.

That is an expression I remember well from my days of rallying when an “electrical problem” usually meant a piston had come through the block and knocked off the alternator.

Hopefully that was not the case for the Scuderia. Red Bull lost time with gearbox issues but Pierre Gasly’s crash meant a late night for the crew and minimal mileage on the last day for Max Verstappen.

At this point, the battle in the midfield promises to be a good one. Let us hope the form during testing and the promise shown by the new kids on the block can be repeated all year.

Interesting news last week was ex-Formula One driver Fernando Alonso’s appointment as an ambassador for McLaren. Apparently it will include him testing the F1 car this season.

Is the Spaniard looking at a return? Only time will tell.

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