Barcelona Day 3 recap: Four red flags caused, Mercedes finish week in style

21-02-2020 17:00
by Nicolás Quarles van Ufford
General
Barcelona Day 3 recap: Four red flags caused, Mercedes finish week in style

The final day of the first week of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya has been an eventful one, with red flags being waved four separate times as Mercedes once again topped the timesheets in dominant fashion.

Busy day

A product of the shortened testing schedule is all teammates have to share the car a bit more than usual. 16 out of the 20 drivers were in action today, a very high number compared to previous years when typically one driver per team would be active on any given day.

That also meant there were less 'centurions' than normal (drivers logging over 100 laps on a day) - only Antonio Giovinazzi, Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel cracked triple digits on Friday.

Red flags

While the first 16 hours of testing only brought us a single red flag, Friday saw running being stopped no less than four times, mostly because of mechanical issues. Ferrari kicked things off as Vettel's SF1000 stopped working not soon after testing started in the morning. It meant the German missed a lot of time as the mechanics pathed his car up, but he managed to get back out and get to exactly 100 laps by the end of the day. 

A few hours later, it was the Williams of Nicholas Latifi that ground to a halt as his FW43 stopped right in front of the pitlane. He finished the day with 72 laps. Kevin Magnussen lost control of his Haas shortly after the lunch break and went into the barriers, ending his day of running. He suffered a puncture and was a passenger as his car slowly slid into the wall at turn 7.

Finally, Daniel Ricciardo. The Aussie suffered mechanical issues and had to stop on track, looking very frustrated by it all when he took off his helmet. Ricciardo did get back out half an hour later, however, and he continued his running, although he spun off in the final hour of testing.

Mercedes best yet again

Valtteri Bottas was behind the wheel of the W11 on Friday morning, and the Finn was clearly feeling it as he was a long way clear from the rest of the grid. He even came close to his own pole-setting time from 2019, logging a 1:15.732 (+0.3s from 2019's pole position). It was never beaten for the rest of the day. 

Lewis Hamilton mainly focussed on consistency and longevity and had a smooth afternoon of running apart from a brief scare when smoke came out of his engine. It's looking really good for Mercedes, especially as their much-discussed DAS-system will likely be approved by the FIA.

Ferrari once again didn't bother even competing for the best time of the day, as they have been doing all week. It is remarkable, seeing the Scuderia have finished winter testing with the quickest lap for four straight years. A change in philosophy?

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