Alfa Romeo and AlphaTauri were F1’s most productive teams in Bahrain, the two outfits ending last weekend’s three-day test with the exact same mileage, or 422 laps each.
Both teams enjoyed rock solid reliability, running consistently at Sakhir and concluding their pre-season preparations among the top four fastest runners.
AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda clocked in second behind Red Bull pace setter Max Verstappen while F1 veteran Kimi Raikkonen was fourth in the pecking order.
Ferrari had a strong start to its turn-around efforts, enjoying a trouble-free test save for a minor mechanical issue that impacted Charles Leclerc at the end of the morning session on day one.
Overall, the Scuderia racked up a total of 404 laps, with Carlos Sainz its fastest representative and third in the final positions.
In the past, Renault’s pre-season preparations have been anything but smooth but the rebranded Alpine outfit ran like clockwork in Bahrain, accumulating 396 laps, while F1 returnee Fernando Alonso was tenth fastest among the drivers.
The French team was just two laps clear of Haas’ impressive tally of 394 laps, a healthy running total helped by rookies Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin keeping their head down and out of trouble.
The young Russian pipped his teammate as Haas’ representative, lining up P17 overall.
Williams contradicted its recent poor track record in pre-season testing, its three drivers – including test driver Roy Nissany – putting a cumulated 373 laps on the board at the wheel of the team’s FW43B, with George Russell ending the test sixth fastest overall.
Red Bull Racing clocked in with the seventh highest mileage in Bahrain, with 369 laps, but with the fastest time overall, courtesy of Max Verstappen’s hot lap on Sunday.
McLaren was another team that performed well at Sakhir with Daniel Ricciardo topping two morning sessions. However, with 327 laps on the board, the Woking-based squad was not among the field’s most assiduous runners.
Aston Martin only managed 314 laps in testing as various issues – including a gearbox failure for Sebastian Vettel – hit the British team, a lack of reliability uncustomary of Team Silverstone.
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Finally, Mercedes’ well-chronicled troubles in pre-season testing limited the reigning world champions to just 304 laps, with Lewis Hamilton achieving the sixth fastest lap overall.
The mileage and performance shortfall has led to all sorts of speculation regarding the Brackley squad, while the team’s new W12 often looked like a handful for its drivers out on track.
However, it’s unlikely complacency has set in at Mercedes, but the bigger question is whether the team can iron out the new car’s handling issues, with Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas both challenged by the W12’s very “snappy” rear end.
However, few would be bold enough to bet against Mercedes this season and its quest for an eighth consecutive Constructors’ title in F1.
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