This weekend’s condensed period of pre-season testing has left a lot to the imagination for F1 spectators ahead of the 2021 campaign.
Following a difficult weekend for Mercedes, fans have begun to suspect a shake up at the front of the grid should the team fail to resolve problems with the W12 by March 28.
Day one saw a gearshift issue in the morning hinder the early progress of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team.
Deciding to switch out the gearbox meant Valtteri Bottas’ W12 remained in the pits for most of the morning after completing just one installation lap.
On day two, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas split driving duty and racked up 600km of running at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Bottas finished out the day on top with the fastest lap of 1:30.289 on the C5 tyres.
Day three was a solid day of improvement for the Mercedes team, and saw the W12 E Performance manage 750km of running to conclude pre-season testing in Sakhir.
Speaking after a weekend full of ups and downs for the world champions, Lewis Hamilton said:
“I’ve never been a massive fan of testing, I just love racing! It’s probably the only year I would have asked for more days though because we’ve got lots of work to do.
“We’ve never felt in the past that we were quicker than everyone else after testing because you never know what people are doing with the fuel and set-ups.
“We always just focus on understanding our car the best way we can so if I’m honest, I feel the same this year. We won’t know until we get to qualifying in two weeks’ time exactly where we stand.
“Today we made some improvements but it’s still not where we want to be. I can’t pick out any one area, it just feels globally through the lap that we need to improve.
“I’m looking forward to getting back into competition and back in that focus mode. Our team is all rowing in the same boat – we win and we lose together.
“I’m just happy to start another journey together with these boys and girls.”
Valtteri Bottas summed up his weekend saying; “Day one was compromised for me so I’m pleased the past two days have been efficient and clean. Today, like yesterday, we had plenty of laps and ran good quality tests.
“I’m still not entirely comfortable but we’ve been moving forward and getting better. There’s still more work to do; we’ve collected lots of data over these past few days which we will analyse to help us make the car faster ahead of the first race.
“Time is even more limited now with the recent changes but our recovery from the first day has been very good.
“I absolutely believe that the car and team has the potential to fight for the title. I don’t think the package is quite there yet in terms of performance but I have no doubt it will be.
“I feel like I’ve had enough time in the car, performing short runs and long runs, and I really feel comfortable and confident. From my side I’m ready and as a team, we will be ready.”