Sport: Mercedes fastest in FP2, Ferrari fifth and ninth - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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SportMercedes fastest in FP2, Ferrari fifth and ninth

09:05  15 march  2019
09:05  15 march  2019 Source:   readsport.co

Bottas: Mercedes needs to unlock more potential to rival Ferrari

Bottas: Mercedes needs to unlock more potential to rival Ferrari Valtteri Bottas has stressed Mercedes will need to unlock more potential out of its car in testing if it hopes to compete with Ferrari at the start of the season. The Brackley-based outfit has remained low-key during pre-season testing as it prioritised milage over laptime, with no real indication of the team’s true performance. Mercedes introduced a radical aero upgrade at the beginning of the second test due to the W10’s handling issues the previous week, but Bottas is doubtful the updates have put the team in a stronger position heading to Melbourne. “It is better.

Scuderia Ferrari left room for improvement during Free Practice 2 at Abu Dhabi Friday, with drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen posting the fifth and seventh fastest lap times of the day. Mercedes -Benz has already locked down the constructors’ and drivers’ championships for 2015, with

The two Ferraris were similarly slow in FP 1, with Vettel and Raikkonen running ninth and tenth fastest . Despite Ferraris lack of pace today, Vettel Mercedes ’ Lewis Hamilton was fastest in FP 2 with a lap of 1:12.271. His teammate Nico Rosberg crossed the finish line 0.030s behind him, while

Mercedes fastest in FP2, Ferrari fifth and ninth © Mark Thompson/Getty Images Sport F1 Grand Prix of Australia - Practice

Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheet ahead of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, while 2019 pre-season favourites Ferrari ended fifth and ninth in second practice ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

Mercedes hit the front early in the session, with Hamilton and Bottas rising to the top of the times on the medium compound tyres.

Suspicions of Ferrari sandbagging were raised when Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc failed to beat Mercedes’ medium tyre times, despite running the soft rubber for a qualifying simulation run.

When Mercedes switched to the red striped compound, Bottas improved by 0.8 seconds to briefly rise above Hamilton, before the reigning champion reclaimed top spot with a 1m22.600s – 0.048s clear of Bottas.

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After seeing teammate Kimi Raikkonen go quickest in FP 1, championship leader Vettel continued Ferrari 's strong start to the weekend, posting a 1:34.120. While Ferrari looked comfortable in the qualifying simulations, Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton, in particular, appeared to struggle to get the

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Ferrari’s Vettel ended the session in fifth place, while Leclerc – who spun after climbing the exit kerb at Turn 4 in the closing moments of the session – was down in ninth, 1.154s adrift of the pace.

The Red Bull duo ended up third and fourth. Max Verstappen posted his qualifying simulation run late in the session and was blocked on his first effort by Antonio Giovinazzi while the Alfa Romeo rookie was in the middle of a high-fuel run.

Verstappen’s next lap was 0.8s down on Hamilton’s benchmark but was still good enough to topple Pierre Gasly’s best time in the sister Red Bull.

Gasly’s session ended in concerning fashion when he reported a loss of power. He was able to recover his Honda-powered Red Bull to the garage, curtailing his running two minutes early.

Hamilton: Mercedes deficit to Ferrari 'potentially half a second'

Hamilton: Mercedes deficit to Ferrari 'potentially half a second' Lewis Hamilton is concerned Mercedes could find itself as much as half a second off the pace of Ferrari at the start of the season. Ferrari is being tipped as the early-season favourites following its performance over winter testing, the Italian outfit registering the fastest laptime over the two weeks in Barcelona. Mercedes has waited until the final day of the second test to increase its pace, but the team’s best time on the morning session was three tenths slower than Ferrari’s benchmark. Although unsure as to what the exact gap is, Hamilton admits Mercedes could be 0.5s behind by the season-opener in Melbourne in two weeks time.

Monaco Grand Prix - Ferrari in front in FP 2 . 25 May 2017. Seb first, Kimi third. Both Ferrari men used one set of Supersofts and one of Ultrasofts. As usual at this track, the focus on fast lap times took place towards the start of the session, while the final runs were dedicated to race simulation work.

Fourth in FP 2 , Kimi Raikkonen showed why Ferrari may also be in the hunt for Sunday's race, but he will have to face the stewards after allegedly impeding Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was seventh in FP 2 but his day ended on a sour note, the home hope handed a three-place grid penalty for going too

Kimi Raikkonen pedalled his Alfa Romeo into fifth place, while Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo also split the Ferraris, providing further credence to the sandbagging theory.

While Hulkenberg’s FP1 electrical gremlins were resolved for the second session of the day, Ricciardo’s running was hampered by a seat issue which cost the home favourite 20 minutes of track time at the start of the session.

Haas’ Romain Grosjean rounded out the top 10, with team-mate Kevin Magnussen in 12th. Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat split the Haas pair.

Kvyat’s team-mate Alexander Albon suffered a spin at Turn 15 during the session. Unlike in FP1, the rookie was able to avoid the barriers. Giovinazzi also looped his Alfa at the same corner in the closing stages of the 90-minute session.

Giovinazzi finished 15th, while Albon was 17th. Fellow rookies Lando Norris and Williams’ George Russell were 18th and 19th respectively.

Russell and team-mate Robert Kubica were once again cut adrift at the back of the pack, 3.8s and 4.0s adrift respectively. They did, however, finish within 107 percent of the fastest lap time.

Wolff: No change in Mercedes' mindset despite Melbourne result.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff insists despite Mercedes’ victory at the season-opener in Australia the team’s mindset remains that it is still the “challengers” in the 2019 title race. The Brackley-based outfit kick-started the new campaign in fine style as it recorded its first win in Melbourne since 2016, with Valtteri Bottas leading home a one-two finish. Mercedes has continued to quash suggestions it is favourite for this year’s championship, labelling Ferrari as the early pace-setters given the Scuderia’s impressive pre-season form.

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