Morning After: New Parts, Old Story

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Verstappen Hamilton

Despite a raft of updates across the grid, the story out front is still the same as Ferrari continue to chase Mercedes after the latter’s strong showing in Barcelona on Friday.

With the first race of the European season, so come the first round of major upgrades – that said, if you were hoping this might mark the start of a Ferrari turnaround, you’ll have to wait at least a little bit longer.

Once again, it was the Mercedes leading the way in Barcelona, a mere 0.049s between Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, but a further 0.252s distancing themselves from the Scuderia.

Making matters more ominous, the all-important long-run pace was equally favourable to the Silver Arrows, Bottas’ 6-lap, high-fuel soft run (1:22.592 average) being 0.497s per lap faster than Sebastian Vettel’s (7 laps), his 7-lap, low-fuel medium run (1:21.995 avg) 0.712s faster than the German’s (13 laps), and Hamilton’s 7-lap hard run (1:22.504) edging out Charlec Leclerc’s (6 laps) by 0.005s.

Suffice to say, that doesn’t bode well for the Scuderia, especially considering this is the track they were they built all their hype in preseason testing.

If there’s a bright side, it’s that their engine upgrades should make things more competitive in qualifying – which in Barcelona, is often where the race is won – but if you were looking for a conclusive sign they could break the overall Bottas-Hamilton hegemony, well… this certainly isn’t it.

Friday Figures

Two. Cars in the top ten for Haas, who promised a “brand new car”, and might actually have delivered.

0.203s. Gap between Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly in FP2, which while not great (Romain Grosjean’s Haas was sandwiched between them), is by far his best Friday showing since the opening round in Melbourne. Consider it progress!

Quick Hits

Another less-than-optimal day for Renault, who could only manage 14th and 15th in FP2, despite their new engine. Maybe the words “improvement” and “needed” are mistranslated in Cyril Abiteboul’s English-to-French dictionary?

Just when we all though Alfa Romeo was nothing more than a Ferrari B-Team, along comes Fred Vasseur to set the record straight.

Could Ferrari be about to join both F1 e-sports and the next Netflix series? It would undoubtedly be a boon to have the biggest name in the sport participating, although something tells me they’ll just keep “considering” until FOM cuts them a special cheque.

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  • Drivers
  • Constructors
  • Calendar
VER454
LEC308
PER305
RUS275
SAI246
HAM240
NOR122
OCO92
ALO81
BOT49
RIC37
VET37
MAG25
GAS23
STR18
MSC12
TSU12
ZHO6
ALB4
LAT2
DEV2
HUL0
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