The 2021 Formula One pre-season test season has come to a successful close with Red Bull's Bottas winning the fastest pre-season test lap and the youngest Formula One driver Hiroki Kadata setting a stunning performance to take the second fastest lap.
Formula 1 pre-season test day 3 of 2021 season
In the final hour of the third day of pre-season testing, a number of drivers entered the qualifying simulation and the fastest laps were set during this time. Kadata made a series of laps in the final stages using C5 tyres, while Vestapan used C4 tyres, and Vestapan's fastest lap was 0.093 seconds ahead of Kadata's, which was also the fastest lap in this pre-season test.
Saines' fastest lap was third, completing 79 laps in four hours in the afternoon, although he suffered a hydraulic failure that delayed him a bit. Teammate Leclerc made his debut yesterday morning and completed 80 laps.
It was Raikkonen who had a full day of testing to complete a total of 165 laps, close to the distance of three Bahrain Grand Prix races. Raikkonen's fastest lap finished fourth and it was a very positive day for him and the team.
Hamilton, fifth on the fastest lap list, started yesterday afternoon but lost some track time in the first hour of the afternoon as Mercedes kept busy in the pit lane. In the final sprint, Hamilton struggled to set a fast lap and spun around the track.
Bottas, who started yesterday morning with a 16th fastest lap, said the car had a significant understeer problem. Mercedes suffered glitches and poor car balance during pre-season testing, which clearly fell short of the performance expected of the defending champions.
With Williams giving Nisani the first day of pre-season testing, Latifi and Russell were given only one day each to test. Russell finally got on the track on the third day, finishing 157 laps, the sixth-fastest.
McLaren's two drivers were seventh and 11th in the fastest laps respectively, with Ricardo and Norris firmly on the line to complete 131 laps for the team.
Alpine driver Xabi Alonso had hinted that they would not run a qualifying simulation during Sunday's test, so we did not see Alonso and Okang do a faster lap. But their mileage was good enough to ensure that Alpine's total mileage was adequate.
Although gasli's fastest lap on C3 tyres in the morning session was only 12th, toro rosso had the most mileage yesterday, with kakuta and gasli completing a combined 167 laps.
Haas's drivers were 14th and 15th respectively, with mazepin completing 67 laps and schumacher 78.
In the end, Vettel was sidelined for the last 90 minutes of the afternoon test session due to the loss of turbocharge pressure, but he managed to complete 56 laps. Stoll completed 80 laps yesterday morning and the two Aston Martin drivers had the last two fastest laps.
At this point, this year's pre-season testing is all over. Are Red Bull really going to be favourites to win the title this season? Is Mercedes still hiding? How competitive can ferrari really recover?
Will Red Bull's strong showing in the 2021 pre-season test season threaten Mercedes? Will Ferrari be able to reverse last year's situation in the new season? The Formula One season opener on March 26-28 will reveal the answer.