The trackside verdict on F1 2021 testing
There was a sense of urgency about Formula 1 pre-season testing, with teams permitted just three days of running to get acquainted with their 2021 cars. Away from confusing laptime data, the view from trackside tells a clear story
For the past few years, I've been heading to Barcelona to watch pre-season testing and it's something I always enjoy. After a winter of no Formula 1, it's nice to not only go and watch cars at the side of the track but also spend time with people in the teams as we all play the usual guessing game of 'who's hot and who's not'.
Normally of course we're all freezing in the paddock in Barcelona while having these conversations, so it was nice to be in the sunshine of Bahrain for a change. The circuits are quite different in terms of layout – Barcelona has more long radius corners with high speeds, therefore putting a larger emphasis on aerodynamics. The Sakhir circuit is traction limited with some big braking zones, although it does have some high-speed corners in the middle sector.
Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...
Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.
OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.
Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition
Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory
Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.
As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival
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