F1 testing summary - Mercedes leads the way on pace and mileage

Mercedes will head to the Formula 1 season-opener in Australia as the favourite after leading pre-season testing - although question marks remain over its engine reliability

F1 testing summary - Mercedes leads the way on pace and mileage

Testing rarely shows the complete picture, seen most starkly in 2019 when Ferrari's impressive performance in Barcelona was followed by an underwhelming start to the season.

Yet a look at the numbers supports the case for Mercedes once again being the team to beat in Melbourne after it topped every single area.

Valtteri Bottas gave an early sign of Mercedes' strength in the opening week when he laid down a fastest lap of 1m15.732s, putting him just three-tenths of a second shy of his own track record at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

His effort would go unbeaten through the second test, giving him a half a second buffer over the rest of the field. Max Verstappen was the next-best driver, finishing 0.537s adrift. Bottas's final day effort of 1m16.196s meant he ended the test with the two fastest laps.

Overall times

Pos Driver Car Time
1. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m15.732s
2. Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m16.269s
3. Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m16.276s
4. Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m16.360s
5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m16.410s
6. Esteban Ocon Renault 1m16.433s
7. Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m16.634s
8. Carlos Sainz McLaren-Renault 1m16.820s
9. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m16.841s
10. George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m16.871s
11. Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1m16.914s
12. Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m16.942s
13. Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m17.037s
14. Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1m17.066s
15. Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m17.091s
16. Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m17.118s
17. Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1m17.313s
18. Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m17.495s
19. Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 1m17.550s
20. Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m17.573s
21. Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m19.670s

Verstappen was able to rise to P2 with a qualifying simulation on the C5 tyres in the final hour of testing. A series of spins through testing had raised some concerns about a potentially skittish trait in the RB16 car, but Verstappen stressed there was nothing to be worried about.

While defending world champion Lewis Hamilton could only finish fifth-fastest in testing, he did lead the way on mileage despite a couple of setbacks for Mercedes. Hamilton racked up 466 laps over his six half-days of running - equivalent to seven race distances - to finish 20 laps clear of McLaren's Carlos Sainz.

Mercedes also led the team mileage counts as Hamilton and Bottas hit a combined total of 903 laps, 59 more than Ferrari. There's not a single measurable metric where the German marque trailed through testing.

However, a spate of engine issues for Mercedes and customer team Williams - often relating to the oil system - has flared some reliability fears. Williams was forced to use three engines through testing, while Mercedes had two separate issues, prompting Hamilton to call it a "difficult winter".

Mileage by driver

Pos Driver Laps Miles
1. Lewis Hamilton 466 1348
2. Carlos Sainz Jr 446 1290
3. Charles Leclerc 442 1279
4. Sergio Perez 441 1276
5. Valtteri Bottas 437 1264
6. Max Verstappen 414 1197
7. Sebastian Vettel 402 1163
8. Romain Grosjean 399 1154
9. Daniil Kvyat 399 1154
10. George Russell 394 1140
11. Esteban Ocon 376 1087
12. Pierre Gasly 370 1070
13. Daniel Ricciardo 367 1061
14. Alex Albon 366 1059
15. Lando Norris 356 1030
16. Nicholas Latifi 343 992
17. Lance Stroll 341 986
18. Antonio Giovinazzi 323 935
19. Kimi Raikkonen 300 868
20. Kevin Magnussen 250 723
21. Robert Kubica 112 324

Mileage by team

Pos Team Laps Miles
1. Mercedes 903 2612
2. Ferrari 844 2441
3. McLaren 802 2320
4. Racing Point 782 2262
5. Red Bull 780 2256
6. AlphaTauri 769 2225
7. Renault 743 2149
8. Williams 737 2132
9. Alfa Romeo 735 2126
10. Haas 649 1877

Ferrari's approach through testing was to avoid overhyping its performance and focus more on getting the basics right after its disappointing start to the season last year. It still trailed Mercedes' lap count, but was only 150 laps shy of its total from 2019 when it had two additional days - proof of its change in approach.

Two of the biggest gainers from 2019 were Williams and Racing Point. In Williams' case, it's of little surprise given last year's woes, but to end testing with 737 laps under its belt (compared to 567 in the 5.5 days it had in '19) is a serious achievement. Without its engine issues, the team could have ranked very highly on the lap counts.

Racing Point's progression is even starker, though. The 'pink Mercedes' turned heads on the opening day of testing, but proved itself to be both reliable and quick. Racing Point completed 782 laps over six days. Last year, it managed 625 laps in eight days. Sergio Perez finished seventh-fastest overall, but was just four-tenths of a second off Verstappen's best lap time.

The maturity of the regulations meant all of the teams were able hit the ground running and rack up some big mileage numbers. The only real anomaly was Haas, who with 649 laps was almost 100 adrift of the rest of the field.

Come Melbourne, the true picture of the F1 field may become a bit clearer. But if testing is anything to go by, Mercedes will once again be leading the pack come the chequered flag at Albert Park.

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