Mercedes on top again with Rosberg as testing ends

2013 F1 season

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013A Mercedes topped the times sheets for the fourth time on the twelfth and final day of pre-season testing.

Nico Rosberg improved on the lap time set by team mate Lewis Hamiolton yesterday, lapping the Circuit de Catalunya in 1’20.130.

Rosberg set the early pace during the morning session but was briefly displaced at the top of the times by Fernando Alonso.

The Ferrari driver recorded a 1’20.606 but Rosberg responded almost immediately with his best effort of the day. Like Alonso and every other driver today, he set his best time on soft tyres.

Jules Bianchi had a busy morning for Marussia, covering 62 laps including live pit stops and start practice.

Other teams were concentrating on upgrades. Ferrari ran their new exhaust for the first time and Williams continued development on their rear aerodynamic package introduced yesterday.

It was another frustrating day for Lotus. Kimi Raikkonen returned to the car after being unwell yesterday but managed just one lap before his gearbox broke.

The team had to replace the unit and he only returned to the track shortly before the lunch break.

In the afternoon most teams prioritised long runs. With no red flags interrupting the test seven drivers managed at least 100 laps each, and the Marussia pair covered that many between them, Max Chilton taking over from Jules Bianchi.

Williams also split their day’s work between their two drivers, Valtteri Bottas driving the car in the afternoon.

Driver Car Best time Laps Difference
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes W04 1’20.130 131
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari F138 1’20.494 120 0.364
3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes MP4-28 1’21.444 122 1.314
4 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari C32 1’21.541 118 1.411
5 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault E21 1’21.658 50 1.528
6 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes VJM06 1’21.664 112 1.534
7 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault FW35 1’22.415 42 2.285
8 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault RB9 1’22.514 100 2.384
9 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault FW35 1’22.524 31 2.394
10 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault CT03 1’23.115 116 2.985
11 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth MR02 1’23.167 62 3.037
12 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari STR8 1’23.628 91 3.498
13 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth MR02 1’24.103 49 3.973

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77 comments on Mercedes on top again with Rosberg as testing ends

  1. Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 3rd March 2013, 16:07

    Red Bull are definitely hiding their true pace. They are just making me more anxious in anticipation for Q3 in just under two weeks!

    • firstLapNutcaseGrosjean (@) said on 3rd March 2013, 16:11

      Ya sure..

    • Nomore said on 3rd March 2013, 16:17

      What makes u think that the other teams are showing their true pace?

      • Ean (@ean) said on 3rd March 2013, 16:38

        Mercedez and Ferrari went for times

        • Nomore said on 3rd March 2013, 16:53

          All the teams went for times.
          As normal each team test what they like and the specification that they like…set up, tyres, fuel, driving style, engine, aero test…etc
          But this doesn’t mean that they are hiding something. Hiding means when u can go faster but u dont want.
          In the race we will see them in the same specification, in tests no. So nobody hides something out there..and really there’s no time to hide…6-7 years ago yes but now no.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 3rd March 2013, 16:56

            What make me thinks others aren’t hiding their true pace to the same extent as Red Bull is the times! Red Bull usually run around 60 or 70kg of fuel, which obviously affects the times more than Mercedes, who run only around 30kg. So fuel corrected, Red Bull should be on top – they haven’t threatened the top of the timesheets at all the last couple of days though!

          • firstLapNutcaseGrosjean (@) said on 3rd March 2013, 17:06

            @vettel1 Red Bull is slower than Mercedes.

          • Nomore said on 3rd March 2013, 17:10

            “Red Bull usually run around 60 or 70kg of fuel, which obviously affects the times more than Mercedes, who run only around 30kg”

            WOW that’s a 1 million $ question and you know it!
            But what if Mecedes or Ferrari were running also 60, 70 Kg..can you prove that they weren’t…

            “So fuel corrected, Red Bull should be on top”

            This is what you like to be…Red Bull should be where they deserve to be, if they deserve to be in top that they will be in top, if they deserve to be 2,3,4,5,6 they will be 2,3,4,5,6. He have just to wait and see…

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 3rd March 2013, 17:24

            I am only quoting the Sky analysis, which seems a damnside more logical than the BBC’s!

            @jason12 – I doubt that. They had the audacity this year to not do a proper race simulation, so they clearly know how the car is responding (if not Vettel with his set-up though) which is already a step up from last year, where they were struggling after having lost the EBD.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 3rd March 2013, 21:13

            @sorin – you can say that will be the case so surely in Australia based purely on fastest laps in testing?

          • Mike (@mike) said on 4th March 2013, 2:34

            I’m not sure why this conversation is even happening… It’s testing, it means nothing in terms of who’s got what. At all.

    • BBQ2 said on 3rd March 2013, 16:30

      They are hiding nothing, according to Autor-Motor-und-Sport, the car is not responding to changes and they are surprised they still have such problems having evolved the car from last season.

      And as you can see, Webber and Vettel had over 2secs from top times. No team could hide 2secs, believe you me……

      Now that Britney has confirmed the W04 pace, what will happen to those who thought LH was using DRS everywhere yesterday? ….. Can’t wait for Melbourne :)

    • Jason (@jason12) said on 3rd March 2013, 16:55

      Now I doubt it.
      They’ll probably struggle at the beginning of the season just like last year.

    • Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 3rd March 2013, 16:58

      Red Bull were well off the pace in qualifying at the start of 2012 (down by over a second in China) after doing poorly in pre-season testing. So if they were “sandbagging” last year they kept up the act for the first several races of the season!

      I expect RB to be challenging for both titles again at the business end of this year, but it would not surprise me if they were trailing at the half way mark.

      • Blackmamba (@blackmamba) said on 3rd March 2013, 18:19

        What people seem to forget is that Mercedes stopped development of their 2012 car inorder to start development on this car early while the top 4 teams from last year were still chasing titles and race wins, so it wouldn’t surprise me that much if Mercedes were actually right up there with Red Bull in Australia. The development race for titles throughout the year however is another kettle of fish altogether!

        • Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 3rd March 2013, 18:36

          Last year Mercedes were right there with RB in Australia, Malaysia and Monaco, and ahead of them in China. So yeah, it would not surprise me if Merc were qualifying very similar to – or slightly ahead of – Red Bull at the start of this season.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 3rd March 2013, 21:28

            @jonsan

            Last year Mercedes were right there with RB

            This is relevant how? I could simply say Red Bull were ahead of them clearly in 2011 – that is just as relevant! Actually, I’d go as far as to say the only relevant thing is the times at the end of last season, which suggests Red Bull should be faster.

          • MagillaGorilla (@magillagorilla) said on 4th March 2013, 1:56

            @vettel1 I’d like to try and respect your representation but the bias you have is clear. You stating that last year’s end of season times (though faster), don’t mean squat to this year. Those times weren’t set against cars that have been developed for either most of 2012 or part of it and all of winter 2013. For anyone to think that RBR can maintain their pace based off of last years times against brand new competition is being highly optimistic.

            Don’t you think it is possible that RBR are behind the eight ball like they were last year? And even though they were still fast, McLaren were still coming out faster. RBR nearly lost it last year and I think will probably finally lose it this year.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 4th March 2013, 16:15

            @magilla-gorilla – naturally I will have a slight bias, but I don’t quite see what you are getting at. It is entirely reasonable to assume the teams will carry over their form from last year for the most part, as the rule changes are insignificant. McLaren and Sauber could be an expectation, as they have adopted a new philosophy with the pull-rod front & high nose and the narrow side-pods & slightly lower nose respectively.

            So the teams that were fast towards the end of last year, namely Red Bull, one could assume will continue to be fast this year.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 4th March 2013, 19:40

            *@magillagorilla ^

            @spawinte – I have based all my comments on observation, expert analysis, press releases and of course the tests themselves. Purely from what I have seen, the Mercedes is undoubtably fast (although how fast relative to everyone else is debateable), the Red Bull is glued to the track, the McLaren is slightly twitchy and from Button’s comments appears difficult to understand (which is why I don’t think they’ll immediately be on the pace) and the Ferarri and Lotus look pretty much on the pace of the former mentioned teams.

            I was not at all being insistent on the being the fastest, and in fact it is the anti-Red Bull force that has blown quite a vague comment in this:

            Red Bull are definitely hiding their true pace. They are just making me more anxious in anticipation for Q3 in just under two weeks!

            well out of proportion. I too am not claiming anything for certain, as that would be stupid.

          • MagillaGorilla (@magillagorilla) said on 5th March 2013, 4:27

            @vettel1 I imagine you don’t care if people respect are take your opinion seriously on matters, especially when you trump up RBR. It’s clear cut, don’t read into it more than it needs to be, you are sugar coating in the name of your favorite team when fairness should be given. It is not safe to assume the teams will carry over if that was the case, RBR should have been a second faster than the second team last year from Melbourne onward, however due to teams testing a building during the off season technology caught up with RBR (key point). We know the RB8 is an evo of RB7, because Newey and team have said so, just like the RB9 is the next step of the RB8.

            So yet again, it isn’t all that safe to assume that RBR have maintained the pace, and even if they did McLaren should be the fastest car because they were still fastest last year over RB. You talk down Ferrari and Mercedes two teams I think will gain wins and may have a real chance to beat RBR many times. Most people are open to the realm of reason that says, perhaps these guys understand these rules much better the second time around and yet again have caught up with RBR. As others have said, you seem to be giving RBR the trophy, while trying to save face by saying “but I don’t think RBR will have an easy time”.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 5th March 2013, 16:02

            @magillagorilla I don’t imagine anyone takes many people’s opinion seriously on an Internet forum! But with all due respect, I think what was a rather harmless comment that started this thread has been blown far out of proportion by people such as you.

            It is not safe to assume the teams will carry over if that was the case, RBR should have been a second faster than the second team last year from Melbourne onward, however due to teams testing a building during the off season technology caught up with RBR (key point). We know the RB8 is an evo of RB7

            You say this, but it was widely acknowledged that Red Bull would be hampered by what was a fairly significant rule change in regards to performance with the banning of the EBD. No such thing has happened this year (bar the DDRS), so I don’t accept that argument – it is indeed logical to assume teams will carry form over from last year.

            You talk down Ferrari and Mercedes two teams I think will gain wins and may have a real chance to beat RBR many times.

            When have I said they won’t? I was basing my assumptions on Mark Hughes analysis, which predicted RBR may hold a two tenth advantage initially over those very teams. Hardly talking down, is it? I too think both of them will win multiple races, and in fact I was one of the first to argue against Hamilton when he initially said they wouldn’t be in contention for wins.

            you seem to be giving RBR the trophy, while trying to save face by saying “but I don’t think RBR will have an easy time”.

            I think they will be contenders and that is all, so by that logic nobody should be allowed to predict any team will be fastest or the greatest contenders. The bookies will probably agree with me on that however. I’m quite faltered people seem to be paying so much attention to my comments!

          • MagillaGorilla (@magillagorilla) said on 7th March 2013, 5:03

            @Vettel1 There are more than me which you seem to be pointing out, there have been many cases to show that going with the easy choice due to their success last year. I have seen championship teams fall after winning and I have seen them get stronger with each year and keep winning. The point is you don’t ever really know and I have seen them fall the next year. RBR had a week start to their year last year and could easily do that again. That is my point, if they do what they did last year they wont have to worry about Mclaren sleeping on the job like last year, they will lose Merc/Ferrari/Lotus and even McLaren will end their streak at 3. I am fine with predicting but when people turn opinion and spin it toward an absolute which your wording seems to do, then people will push back. two comments under this is another person asking why you are bias as well, I’m not the first nor the last. Just be prepared to debate it out when you do seem to be trumping up one team before the other, before the season starts.

            Also it is F1 debating, don’t get so upset, I’m calm I’m just curious to the bias is all, I’d rather you just come out and say you’re an RBR fan and I’ll avoid your comments as general F1 opinion.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 7th March 2013, 15:55

            @magillagorilla

            I’d rather you just come out and say you’re an RBR fan and I’ll avoid your comments as general F1 opinion.

            I think that much is obvious from my @ mention, but why should that detract from the fact it is entirely reasonable to assume Red Bull will be competitive or even at the front?

            Of course championship winning teams have fallen, but what is there to suggest Red Bull will do the same this year? The rule changes are insignificant and they haven’t tried to be too revolutionary (unlike perhaps McLaren have). The base is very solid and a multiple title winner, so why can it not win another?

          • MagillaGorilla (@magillagorilla) said on 8th March 2013, 10:59

            @Vettel1 never said they weren’t, I think they will and have said that already, but I think they aren’t going to win because everyone else has had their chance to learn from last year. As you have said the rules haven’t changed to anyones favor thus the playing ground is level. Next year new things will come out more so than other years because of the vast rule changes and then it may be very different. However, I feel they all have caught up. As you have explained the rules are the same, thus what leaps and bounds does RBR have the chance to make if they are just reinacting last year? Not to say they can’t make new ideas, but there is a moore’s like law to everything and F1 is no different until the situation change the diminishing effect wont. Thus I feel everyone else can catch up to RBR/McLaren, and by everyone I mean all those that aren’t STR, Caterham and Marussia but you never know for sure.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 8th March 2013, 22:21

            @magillagorilla – interestingly (although perhaps not surprisingly) despite the lack of evidence a healthy majority of F1 fanatics are favouring Red Bull to win the constructor’s championship, so I don’t at all think it’s unreasonable to assume Red Bull will be quickest still! This debate seems to be stalling though, so I think we should just have a habitual agreement that we will continue to disagree indefinitely!

        • chemakal said on 5th March 2013, 10:40

          Irrelevant as there are no major changes on specs from last seasson. Any development on the 2nd part of last seasson was a development for 2013 too

    • Spawinte (@spawinte) said on 4th March 2013, 9:49

      Max I have seen you talking up Red Bull in the comments every day now while at the same time dismissing McLaren out of hand. You’re fast becoming the Red Bull defence force. I’m not saying they won’t be fastest but your insistence on their superiority without any real evidence beyond speculation is undignified.

  2. Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 3rd March 2013, 16:13

    In my opinion, the true order is something like this:

    1. Red Bull;
    2. Williams;
    3. Lotus;
    4. Mclaren;
    5. Mercedes;
    6. Ferrari;
    7. Sauber;
    8. Force India;
    9. Toro Rosso;
    10. Marussia;
    11. Caterham.

    Don’t take it seriuosly, it’s just my guess and I’m very anxious to know the true pecking order.

  3. plutoniumhunter (@plutoniumhunter) said on 3rd March 2013, 16:25

    Caterham and Marussia sandbagging as usual… :-P

  4. Ean (@ean) said on 3rd March 2013, 16:53

    2012 – Kimi Räikkönen was fastest in final test. Qualified 18th in Australia Shows you how much you can learn from the 12 days testing

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 3rd March 2013, 16:57

      @ean – that’s not a good representation though: he made a mistake hence why he dropped out. Grosjean qualified 3rd, which I would say pretty much comfirmed Lotus were quick.

    • andae23 (@andae23) said on 3rd March 2013, 17:13

      … and Grosjean qualified third.

    • firstLapNutcaseGrosjean (@) said on 3rd March 2013, 17:23

      Now, Raikkonen is in a very bad situation. Less testing than everybody, had more problems than all…I think is very confused about the car.

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 3rd March 2013, 17:25

      I do agree though we shouldn’t look too much into the times – there are too many variables!

      • Blackmamba (@blackmamba) said on 3rd March 2013, 18:29

        however, when Jenson set the fastest time on the first day of the first test pundits couldn’t praise him and the team enough and already putting him down as the favorite for the title. On the other hand Mercedes does times that are faster that pole lap at the same circuit last year and fans are being shushed like little children for pointing it out??

        • Guccio (@concalvez00) said on 3rd March 2013, 20:26

          +1

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 3rd March 2013, 21:31

          @blackmamba – fetching name, but as for your comment about Jenson’s time, I was the first to rubbish the pundit’s claims! Using times in testing to determine a pecking order without the context is ridiculous, which is what people are doing when the say Mercedes are clearly faster or that Red Bull are slow. And if nobody beat last years pole time, I would be worried.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 3rd March 2013, 21:35

            …absolutely though I am not discounting them form being competitive: I absolutely believe they will win at least one race.

        • Jeanrien (@jeanrien) said on 3rd March 2013, 22:10

          Actually that time from Jenson seemed a bit like a “oops” time. McLaren as RedBull is a team which doesn’t top the time sheet at every test even if they have a great car. That time to me was like, we run the car with quite some fuel as usual and they did a great time with that, which mean they added more fuel for the rest of the test not to be to fast. Every time the question was asked at McLaren about the others, the response was “Nobody set a time we couldn’t do if we adjust our fuel load” which sound quite confident to me.

          Except this situation, very hard to have any idea of the actual order, it’s mainly based on impression and heart speaking right now, everyone seeing signs a bit everywhere (like the one mentioned above by myself concerning McLaren), in short we are probably all more than impatient to be at Melbourne.

  5. gamer8 said on 3rd March 2013, 16:58

    I think that the mecedes team have done the best job they can and have made the biggest step forward of all teams, wether that is enough for wins or podiums we will see, but they definetely have done better than many expected them to.

  6. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 3rd March 2013, 17:25

    Red Bull are obviously hiding (or at least not demonstrating) their ultimate pace – there’s no way they are more than two seconds off the pace. At the same time, I think the Mercedes and Ferrari must have been pretty light when they set those times. I don’t believe they’re almost two seconds faster than last year’s pole with 30kg of fuel in the tank.

    What I found amusing is that, amidst all the usual comments of “we don’t know where everyone is”, Sky predicted Red Bull to be two tenths of a second faster than the rest. If they can infer that from testing times, then they could predict quite accurately where everyone is.

    I have followed all of the pre-season tests (to the degree that FOM allows), but I cannot make any informed statements beyond the obvious ‘Mercedes is looking surprisingly good’ and ‘Marussia won’t win the constructors’. I would be interested if someone had crunched some numbers; the most advanced analysis I have seen so far is Gary Anderson fuel correction at the Jerez test (which was: if a driver did k laps after his fastest, then he could have done a time that is k x some_number faster). Anyone with a more informed view?

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 3rd March 2013, 17:37

      @adrianmorse – I’ve not seen any others so far other than the article on Sky relating to the comments you have mentioned (link) and I assume the BBC will have a follow-up from the second test analysis soon enough. We’ll have some more soon I’m sure though! ;)

    • Ben (@dirtyscarab) said on 3rd March 2013, 17:50

      According to Mark Hughes, looking at past seasons and assuming teams generally run the same fuel levels from last year, fuel corrected the RB could have done a 19.3 and the others (McL, Mer, Lot, Fer) 2 10ths behind on a 19.5. That’s quali pace mind you. Race pace I think McLaren are a little behind the top teams

      • firstLapNutcaseGrosjean (@) said on 3rd March 2013, 20:49

        @adrianmorse @vettel1 @dirtyscarab and Mark Hughes
        Last year, in testing, in Spain, the best time of Vettel was 1:22.8 and the best time of all was 1:22.0. => diff: 0.8s
        Now the best time of Vettel is 1:22.1 and the best time is 1:20.1 => diff: 2.0s
        So related to

        assuming teams generally run the same fuel levels from last year,

        how can you possible say that RB is first and others are 2 tenths behind. Really..
        The only reason to say that RB is in front, is that this year they changed a lot the testing strategy. But I don’t think so..

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 3rd March 2013, 21:32

          @sorin – With all due respect, I trust his judgement more than yours. And the method in which they determined those figures is much more sound that Benson’s for example.

          • Jake (@jleigh) said on 3rd March 2013, 22:32

            @vettel1 whilst you are probably right to trust !ark Hughes judgement more than @sorin ‘s, his facts clearly show a fundamental flaw in Hughes’ system. In last years final test there was very little difference between the times of Mercedes and RB, and then at the first race, Mercedes were ahead. So when this year there is a 2 second gap, using Hughes’ logic that teams run the same amount of fuel each year, the conclusion would have to be that this year Merc are around 2 seconds faster than RB, which I think we can all agree is ridiculous. The point is then, if Hughes’ logic is clearly flawed, how can we trust his analysis?

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 3rd March 2013, 23:08

            @jleigh – I think there were probably more factors taken into account, such as the amount of fuel on those specific runs, but from his conclusion a very believable and realistic conclusion is drawn, which correlates with on-track observations. The top 5 teams covered by 2/3 tenths is perhaps a bit rich but nonetheless the system appears to have drawn an accurate conclusion I’d say.

          • Jake (@jleigh) said on 3rd March 2013, 23:44

            @vettel1 but the system is flawed quite clearly. Just because he has come up with a possible conclusion doesn’t mean it’s anymore correct then me coming up with the just as realistic, Red Bull are 2 tenths down on Merc, based on my calculations of guessed fuel loads.

    • David BR2 said on 3rd March 2013, 18:10

      Whatever the case, its funny to see the backtracking going on from just a few weeks ago when most people were scathing about Mercedes (and the wisdom of Hamilton’s move). At least it’s now starting to look not quite the complete disaster predicted by many pundits and fans.

  7. Eddie (@wackyracer) said on 3rd March 2013, 17:56

    Go Mercedes Go Go Go!

  8. andae23 (@andae23) said on 3rd March 2013, 18:09

    I always quite like testing: from a technical point of view, it is quite interesting to follow the developments. Every year exactly the same happens, namely everyone looks at the timing screens and think they know what the season will be like. Even with the times corrected for fuel loads, one cannot predict a team’s pace. The most accurate indication is cornering behavior: how solid is a car, does it have understeer, oversteer, does the driver have to make corrections mid-corner? From what I’ve heard, Red Bull are indeed looking very solid in corners, but we will have to wait an odd 14 days longer to know exactly where everyone is.

    Testing is a great time (possibly even more fun then during the season), as no one really knows what’s going on. I quite like it when I read: “Red flag”, with no one knowing for who, for what reason or even at what place on the circuit. I have also figured out that broadcasting testing is pretty useless. I do like watching the cars, but the constant nonsense my ears must endure with Sky’s coverage is… unfortunate to say the least.

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 3rd March 2013, 18:21

      @andae23 – I just record the session and buzz through it to avoid all the boring droning! But yes, from watching the runs the Red Bull looks very planted, especially through the high speed corners (so no real surprises there). Sky didn’t cover Mercedes faster runs, so I can’t comment on that but what I an comment on is that interestingly the McLaren looks quite twitchy. Button has been complaining about set-up issues so maybe they’ll be off the pace in Melbourne (as Red Bull were last year)?

      • clappy (@danielc) said on 3rd March 2013, 18:37

        Ha ha that’s ridiculous , you cant tell Macca will be of the pace , your judgement is skewed by your love for R Bull, all ive seen is you say Red Bull are hiding their pace.I agree their probably not far off pace but , you think their fastest on the basis of what lol ? . All week you put Merc’s times down to low fuel , Merc had the most improvement to make this season , and it’s not like Merc have really bad tech people now isit.

        • firstLapNutcaseGrosjean (@) said on 3rd March 2013, 19:07

          +1

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 3rd March 2013, 21:24

          @danielc – it appears you also haven’t paid attention to any of my comments. I was merely making a point of saying that Mercedes’ times are in no way representative of what will happen in Australia. In fact, bar Caterham and Marussia’s, nobodies are.

          My guess (and no more) on the pecking order is based on Mark Hughes’ analysis and my own observations of testing. The Red Bull looks incredibly planted, especially through the high-speed sections, which suggests they have great downforce. Their confidence in not running race simulations also shows they are happy with the car and have a good understanding of it.

          All I have said of McLaren is that it is twitchy and judging by the set-up issues they are having it may be off the pace of the Red Bull and the Mercedes out of the blocks. I don’t see how that is at all ridiculous a statement.

          Mercedes do have a good technical department absolutely, but there is no reason to suggest from past form (as of course the rules have barely changed) that they will be faster than Red Bull. There is no denying also that Mercedes were evidently running lower fuel than Red Bull, so I don’t see why you strongly disagree with that either.

          • clappy (@danielc) said on 3rd March 2013, 21:37

            I don’t mean to sound silly pal but ive read a lot of comments every time Merc go quick.You have always said Red Bull will be quickest come AUS , like they were last year eh? And what makes you think year after year merc will be slow they have everything in place to be a force my now. In the 1st test and 2nd test Merc were standing out still and they were always using slower tyre’s hard and mediums. I could be wrong but im sure this test is first time they have used softs. Remember the consistent 12 lap run on hards that Ham did in 2nd test. Merc have the biggest scope out of the big teams to improve and you can see they have improved , weather they keep up with development through season is another thing , but im quite optimistic they will be battling for podiums each race.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 3rd March 2013, 23:15

            @danielc – I’ve based my assumptions purely from watching testing, listening to the expert analysis, by scrutinising possible fuel loads and from last season’s form (as Red Bull have an “evolutionary” car from the one which one the title, as there are no major rule changes rather unlike last year).

            I do however agree with this:

            im quite optimistic they will be battling for podiums each race.

            …at least initially. The car is good and I think they will most definitely be in contention for the first part of the season. I don’t think it is quite a match for the Red Bull, but 2 tenths (as predicted by Mark Hughes) really isn’t all that big of a gap, and one little slip-up, a change in conditions or a good strategy could easily allow Hamilton to win a race (or more than one).

            I’m not denying the car is quick, but I’m not expecting it to take pole in Australia is all I’m saying – which some people seem to think is guaranteed from a testing time.

      • puneeth Bharath (@puneethvb) said on 3rd March 2013, 18:39

        @vettel1 … Should we hand over the WCC to redbull and the WDC to Vettel in a plate? Wait for two more weeks and we’ll see who is the fastest.. you or I dont have enough info to predict which car is gonna be the fastest…

  9. Anom said on 3rd March 2013, 18:23

    I dont think Red bull are sandbagging as Vettel has just been moaning about tyre deg and that he can’t tell any difference when he makes a setup change and that he is not satisfied with the test.

    • Master firelee (@master-firelee) said on 3rd March 2013, 18:47

      That’s what he wants you to think….

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 3rd March 2013, 18:48

      That sounds like the definition of “sandbagging” to me!

      With the teams ability to predict the time difference per lap per Kilo of fuel so accurately it really is impossible to be sure exactly how fast a car is unless you know the fuel situation. Just because a car does X laps before pitting does not mean the tank is empty, the team may keep a minimum of say 20L in the tank at all times and extrapolate from there.

  10. OOliver said on 3rd March 2013, 20:13

    I believe no serious team will be slower than they were last year considering the rules are pretty much unchanged. One thing that has been consistent with RBR is that they have been able to have a car that is predictable in both cold and warm weather, meaning the guy handling their aerodynamics, knows exactly the right compromises to make when designing the car’s profile.
    Mercedes on the other hand, may give themselves a pat on the back, but come warm weather, and the air stream is heading in the wrong direction. I guess with Elliot now in the aero department, they may be a bit better now.
    The biggest problem for the teams isn’t setting a fast time, but as Vettel moaned about, being able to see the effects of a set up change. Unfortunately the tyres are now a greater variable, so you change the setup of the car and you are not sure if you’ve gone faster or slower, because already the tyres have lost anything from 0.5 -1.5 seconds by the next lap.
    Redbull are still very fast, likewise Mclaren, Ferrari and Lotus. Qualifying may not even give the exact picture as the smallest mistake will require fresh tyres.

  11. NickF12013 (@nickf12013) said on 3rd March 2013, 20:50

    So Bianchi nearly a second faster than Chilton. With only 2 days of getting on grips with the car… I believe that sums everything up. Daddy’s money do not guarantee success is F1…

  12. grat said on 4th March 2013, 4:31

    My problem with the idea that Red Bull is sandbagging is that Vettel has never been one to keep his foot off the gas. He’s incredibly competitive, and with the team shouting “mind the tires!” for the last 10 laps of a race, he still kept setting fastest laps.

    There is no way Sebastian Vettel would deliberately let his car be 2 seconds a lap slower than Fernando, and apparently Red Bull never ran a full-race simulation (ie, a full tank).

    I’ll believe they’re sandbagging, I’ll believe they’re not showing their true pace, but I can’t believe they’d sandbag THAT much.

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 4th March 2013, 16:18

      Very true, he isn’t one to hold back (as his off in the final test showed). But there is a limit to which a driver can drive the car, and if the car is running on higher fuel that limit increases. I think that explains the deficit: Red Bull were simply running higher fuel loads, which is what “sandbagging” is essentially (and of course the usual de-tuned engine settings).

  13. Spawinte (@spawinte) said on 4th March 2013, 9:55

    Guys you do realise that just because a team doesn’t do a race sim doesn’t mean the tanks aren’t full? You can send the car out to do the the first stint of a grand prix on max fuel and still get the required data and both tyres and set up. The short sightedness in the comments on testing has been incredible.

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