The first round of the ‘phony war’ that is Formula 1 testing is complete, with the 2016 grid going through their paces for four days in Barcelona.
It was Ferrari who were consistently quickest, with Mercedes adopting the strategy of trying to get miles under their belt early on.
Here’s a recap of how the action unfolded in Spain…
It was the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel who was quickest first up in Barcelona. Vettel posted a 1:24.939 in the latter stages of the morning session, a mark which wouldn’t be beaten.
That time put the SF16-H some 0.470s up on reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton. However, it was Hamilton who boasted the overall package of speed and reliability, having completed 155 laps as well as sitting near the top of the time sheets.
Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull RB12 was third quickest ahead of the Williams of Valtteri Bottas, with Alfonso Celis’ Force India rounding out the top five.
Celis was running on soft tyres, as was Jenson Button who got McLaren’s year off to a solid start with the sixth-fastest time.
Further down the pecking order, Pascal Wehrlein’s Manor was ninth fastest while Romain Grosjean debuted Haas F1’s challenger and recorded a best time of 1:28.399. Technical trouble saw Renault’s Jolyon Palmer bringing up the rear.
Vettel continued to dominate top spot on the second day of testing, a day on which Pirelli’s brand new ultra-soft tyres made their first appearance.
It was on the ultra-soft that Vettel posted a 1:22.810. Daniel Ricciardo was the only other driver to use the ultra-soft, and the Australian underlined the pace they provided with a 1:23.525, the second fastest time of the day.
Making use of the super soft tyres was Sergio Perez in a Force India, with the Mexican racking up the third fastest time, a 1:23.650.
It was a good day for Wehrlein who managed to complete a race distance in his Manor (71 laps) while also posting the eighth fastest time which saw him edge out Fernando Alonso’s McLaren on the time charts.
However, it was once again Mercedes who impressed despite not posting the fastest time. Making his first appearance, Nico Rosberg got through a massive 156 laps and registered the fourth-fastest time, a 1:24.867.
Nico Hulkenberg made the most of the super soft tyres to top the running on Day Three. The Force India driver managed to get his VJM09 around the Barcelona circuit in a time of 1:23.110.
Grosjean’s Haas was a surprise in second with a 1:25.874, while Kimi Raikkonen marked his first run with a third-fastest time of 1:25.977.
After two good days of testing, McLaren had their first issue of the new campaign when a hydraulic leak on Jenson Button’s car caused a small fire.
At the back of the pack, Indonesia’s Rio Haryanto got his first run. The Manor driver posted a fastest time of 1:28.249 and completed 77 laps.
Mercedes again focused on getting as many laps as possible completed, and were so focused on getting mileage in their new model that Rosberg and Hamilton split the day’s running to ensure they remained fresh.
It was a familiar story on Thursday’s final day, with Raikkonen taking Ferrari back to the front of the field. The Finn was on the ultra-soft tyres in the morning and his time of 1:23.477 would be the fastest.
Danii Kvyat’s Red Bull was second fastest with a 1:24.293, while Alfonso Celis made use of the super softs late on to register a 1:24.840.
Kevin Magnussen was a busy man in his Renault, with the Dane getting through 153 laps. The combined total of Rosberg and Hamilton bettered that number though, with the two Mercedes drivers completing 185 laps between them.
There Mercedes pair didn’t do one run at the Circuit de Catalunya on the ultra-soft tyres and as a result their true pace is most certainly not yet clear.
After a promising start to testing it was all going downhill for McLaren, with Fernando Alonso completing just three laps before a coolant leak ended his day.