Today was the first glimpse of the on-track battle of 2012...sort of. At times like this, with the opening race in Melbourne still almost a month away, you have to take what you are given and Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton both treated us to race simulation runs this afternoon that made for fascinating viewing trackside.
Barcelona has a well-deserved reputation as a great test track, but that also means that it's an excellent place to get a picture of how the 2012 crop is performing using the naked eye rather than the stopwatch. So myself and AUTOSPORT columnist Dieter Rencken completed a full lap of viewing, taking the opportunity to watch the cars in every type of corner, be it the heavy brake into the medium-speed Turn 1, the long, demanding right-hander at Turn 3, the super-fast, uphill Campsa or the painfully slow chicane near the end of the lap.
But back to the race. This jaunt around the track coincided with the Red Bull versus McLaren battle. Given that both were running what appeared to be comparable (if not identical) fuel loads at similar times, it was a rare opportunity to compare the two cars. Right now, Red Bull and McLaren appear to be in the best shape overall, although to that must be added the usual caveat that this is based on limited information and there is still plenty of time to go until the first race.
Get back on track. Join today for unlimited access to all Autosport news and features.
Are you an Autosport magazine subscriber? Activate your online account
Your Autosport Plus membership includes:
- Unlimited access to Autosport's news - no monthly cap.
- Read the best motorsport features, analysis and opinion.
- Explore Forix, our comprehensive motorsport stats database.
- Choose from monthly, yearly and two-yearly packages.
Edd Straw is Editor-in-Chief of Autosport, overseeing both print and digital versions of the brand. Edd has worked for Autosport since joining as a junior reporter in 2002. He became Editor in November 2014, having previously worked as National Editor, News Editor and Grand Prix Editor.
Originally from Guernsey in the Channel Islands, he joined Autosport shortly after graduating from university. He went on to cover a wide range of categories from club motorsport to the World Touring Car Championship and Le Mans to Formula 3 before switching to F1 full-time at the 2008 French Grand Prix. He continues to cover a range of international events in his position as Editor-in-Chief.
In his spare time, he was formerly a club racer whose abilities did not match his enthusiasm in a variety of categories.