Formula 1 entered today the final day of the pre-season testing session held at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya, with a wet testing session planned for the afternoon.

Day two of testing in Barcelona saw Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc top the timing screens, with a best lap time of 1:19.689, after driving around the Spanish venue 78 times, as the day also saw Guanyu Zhou, the only rookie on the 2022 F1 grid make his debut as an official F1 driver, and finished the day tenth fastest with 71 laps under his belt.

Some teams have suffered some reliability issues, but in general the test has proven that the teams have their cars quite reliable out of the box.

With lap times, and pecking orders still too early to be discussed, and with the new car yet to prove better in close racing, the word everyone would be talking about after the test is “Porpoising“, which Grandprix247’s technical guru Mark Kay describes as: “A common issue with ground effect cars, particularly those that are producing higher amounts of downforce.

“On a ground effect car, as the speed of the car and the downforce created increases the car is essentially “sucked” further towards the track surface. However, as the ride height of the car decreases there is a point reached where flow separation in the diffuser tunnel throat occurs that causes downforce to be reduced.

“This loss in pressure results in the ride height then increasing and downforce is again regained, and the ride height reduces again and the whole process repeats over and over at reasonable frequency.

“This ‘bouncing” is known as porpoising,” Kay adds.

Another interesting aspect for the final testing day is the wet session being planned for the afternoon, which will be the first chance to see how the new cars run in wet conditions, running the new Intermediate and Wet Pirelli 18″ tyres. Pirelli has made three sets of each available for each team for trial.

Morning session, the first hour

Testing resumes on Friday with the the following drivers on morning duty for their respective teams:

  1. Max Verstappen – Red Bull
  2. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari
  3. Lando Norris – McLaren
  4. George Russell – Mercedes
  5. Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin
  6. Fernando Alonso – Alpine
  7. Guanyu Zhou – Alfa Romeo
  8. Alex Albon – Williams
  9. Pierre Gasly – Alpha Tauri
  10. Nikita Mazepin – Haas

Max Verstappen does not waste any time and heads out on the track, followed by Vettel and Russell, then Zhou, Gasly, Alonso, and Leclerc. Mazepin, Norris and Albon were he last three drivers to exit the pits.

So all ten F1 cars are out in track only ten minutes into the session, with most cars featuring various aero-rake attachments, the same as with the first two days, when aero-rakes were used on the teams’ early runs.

As reported, Haas will be running on Friday with a white livery, as the Uralkali branding has been removed from the VF22, in the wake of the unfortunate developments in the Ukraine.

Alonso tops the timing screens:

  1. Fernando Alonso – Alpine – 1:21.242 – C3 tyre
  2. Lando Norris – McLaren – 1:21.397 – C3 tyre
  3. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:22.614 – C2 tyre
  4. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – 1:22.778 – C2 tyre
  5. Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin – 1:22.859 – C2 tyre
  6. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri – 1:24.319 – C4 tyre
  7. George Russell – Mercedes – 1:24.592 – C2 tyre
  8. Guanyu Zhou – Alfa Romeo – 1:24.938 – C2 tyre
  9. Nikita Mazepin – Haas – 1:31.204 – C3 tyre
  10. Alex Albon – Williams – 1:46.860 – C3 tyre

After a little over 45 minutes of running and topping the timescreens, Fernando Alonso brought out the Red Flags while he was on a long run, as his Alpine stopped in a cloud of smoke. The team confirmed the problem was due to loss of pressure.

The second hour of testing

Testing resumed in the second hour of testing, after Alonso’s A522 was cleared from the track, and Max Verstappen goes back to the top of the timing screens with a 1:21.292 and improves with a 1:20.683.

Meanwhile, Chris Medland reported that one of the two new F1 Race Directors, Eduardo Freitas was having a chat with F1’s Motorsport boss Ross Brawn.

George Russell put his W13 up in second in the time screens, less than a tenth down on Verstappen’s time, with Lando Norris in third and in the 1:20’s after one and half hours of morning running.

An update on the lap times for each driver by the end of the second hour of morning testing, as Nicholas Latifi tooj over from Alex Albon at Williams, the team splitting the morning session between both drivers.

  1. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:19.765 – C3 tyre
  2. George Russell – Mercedes – 1:20.767 – C3 tyre
  3. Nicholas Latifi – Williams – 1:20.699 – C4 tyre
  4. Lando Norris – McLaren – 1:20.827 – C3 tyre
  5. Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin – 1:20.934 – C3 tyre
  6. Fernando Alonso – Alpine – 1:21.242 – C3 tyre
  7. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – 1:21.733 – C2 tyre
  8. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri – 1:22.469 – C4 tyre
  9. Alex Albon – Williams – 1:22.652 – C3 tyre
  10. Guanyu Zhou – Alfa Romeo – 1:24.490 – C2 tyre
  11. Nikita Mazepin – Haas – 1:26.229 – C3 tyre

Hour three of Friday morning at Barcelona

Another problem for Haas as the team announced they have a leak on the VF22. Not a good day for the American outfit.

Guanyu Zhou is continuously improving his times and up to ninth, as Sebastian Vettel records a 1:20.685 that puts him in third.

George Russell running the C4 tyre compound – for the first time – tops the timing screens with a lap time of 1:19.608.

By the way, it’s the Professor’s Birthday today, he turns 67.

F1 has announced that Nikita Mazepin will not take part in the press conference to be held at lunchtime, with Haas team principal Guenther Steiner expected to speak to the media.

A little bit over 30 mins into the third hour of morning running, Pierre Gasly went off, in the first sector, Turn 5 and seems to have hot a barrier, stopping his laps counter at 41, and causing the second Red Flag of the day.

The timing screens were as follows at the end of the third hour:

  1. George Russell – Mercedes – 1:19.608, C4 tyre
  2. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:19.765, C3 tyre
  3. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – 1:20.308, C3 tyre
  4. Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin – 1:20.685, C3 tyre
  5. Nicholas Latifi – Williams – 1:20.699, C4 tyre
  6. Lando Norris, McLaren – 1:20.827, C3 tyre
  7. Fernando Alonso – Alpine – 1:21.242, C3 tyre
  8. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri – 1:22.469, C4 tyre
  9. Guanyu Zhou – Alfa Romeo – 1:22.371, C3 tyre
  10. Alex Albon – Williams – 1:22.652, C3 tyre
  11. Nikita Mazepin – Haas – 1:26.229, C3 tyre

Final hour of the AM session

The track was green flagged with one hour to go from the morning session of the last day of the Barcelona pre-season testing session, after Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri was retrieved, after his excursion at Turn 5.

With one hour to go, George Russell and Mercedes have put in the most laps with 57 laps.

Minutes into the final hour, and after the track became Green, the Red Flag was waved again, as Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou went off as well in the final sector spinning at Turn 10.

After Zhou’s Alfa Romeo was cleared, the track was Green flagged with almost 38 minutes of running time available before the lunch break.

Just after the track turned Green, Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel went quicker in his AMR22, moving up to third in the timing screens with a lap time of 1:19.905.

George Russell improved his top time shorty after that to record a 1:19.233, on C5 tyres, which is less than three seconds shy of the 2021 pole time set by Lewis Hamilton at the same venue, a 1:16.741.

Vettel went faster for Aston Martin posting a 1:19.824, before Zhou brought our the Red Flag for a second time with 20 minutes of running remaining, stopping on track in the final sector.

The running resumed after Zhou’s incident with 12 minutes remaining on the clock.

In the meantime, Alpine announced that due to repairs on the A522 after the earlier break down in the morning that they will not do any further running for the rest of the day. So no Wet running for the French team.

The team said on Twitter: “After further investigations in the garage following Fernando Alonso’s on-track stoppage earlier this morning, the team can confirm the issue was a problem with the hydraulics. A minor sealing issue led to a fire in the back of the car.

“The team has successfully completed 266 laps during the three days of the Barcelona shakedown. Repairs on the car will continue, and as a result we won’t be running for the remainder of the day.

“We look forward to be back in action at the next test in Bahrain,” Alpine concluded.

With six minutes to go, a fifth Red Flag was brought out by Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, who seems to have suffered from an engine issue, and went on fire marshal duty.

The session was not resumed after Vettel’s incident.

As a reminder, the afternoon session will be held in artificial wet conditions, as Pirelli hope to collect some data about their wet range of 18″ tyres.

Final lap times and lap counts for all drivers after the morning session on Friday:

  1. George Russell – Mercedes – 1:19.233 – C5 tyre – 66 laps
  2. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:19.756 – C3 tyre – 58 laps
  3. Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin – 1:19.824 – C5 tyre – 48 laps
  4. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – 1:19.831 – C3 tyre – 44 laps
  5. Nicholas Latifi – Williams – 1:20.699 – C4 tyre – 5 laps
  6. Lando Norris – McLaren – 1:20.827 – C3 tyre – 52 laps
  7. Fernando Alonso – Alpine – 1:21.242 – C3 tyre – 12 laps
  8. Guanyu Zhou – Alfa Romeo – 1:21.939 – C3 tyre – 41 laps
  9. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri – 1m22.469 – C4 tyre – 40 laps
  10. Alex Albon – Williams – 1:22.652 – C3 tyre – 21 laps
  11. Nikita Mazepin – Haas – 1:26.229 – C3 tyre – 9 laps

The final afternoon of testing at Barcelona, the first hour

The morning session on Friday at Barcelona ended under the Red Flags caused by Sebastian Vettel, who ran into car trouble with his AMR22 catching fire.

Vettel spoke of a “very useful” week in Barcelona, as the team “learned a lot about the car” and admits that “a lot of work” awaited the team but he is encouraged as the “first impressions were good”, as the teams shifts focus to Bahrain.

With the track soaked with tankers over the break, the following drivers will be in action on Friday afternoon at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

  1. Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton
  2. Red Bull: Sergio Perez
  3. Ferrari: Carlos Sainz
  4. McLaren: Daniel Ricciardo
  5. AlphaTauri: Yuki Tsunoda
  6. Aston Martin: Lance Stroll
  7. Williams: Alex Albon/Nicholas Latifi
  8. Alfa Romeo: Valtteri Bottas
  9. Haas: Mick Schumacher

Alpine will not run due to the damage sustained by the A522 in the morning session.

Daniel Ricciardo was the first to venture out on the artificially wet Barcelona track.

Ricciardo then switches to the Intermediates and goes two seconds faster on them, than on the Full Wets.

Nikita Mazepin, whose future at Haas is hanging in the balance, took to twitter to share his thoughts.

Nicholas Latifi is running in the Williams first, who are splitting the afternoon driving between both drivers, the Canadian recording a lap time of 1:42.638 – on Intermediates – compared to his best effort of 1:20.699. That’s 20s slower.

Carlos Sainz is on track for Ferrari, and sets a time of 1:41.808. Earlier the Spaniard took part in the press conference during the one-hour lunch break.

“It is very early days,” he said regarding Ferrari’s position. “Not easy to know where we are. Difficult to say where everyone is.

“The cars are different than last years,” Sainz went on. “We are enjoying putting it on the limit and see how the car reacts. There are many differences. It is key to drive different ways. This challenge is fun and it is exciting.”

As for the “porpoising” the Ferrari driver said: “It does not feel great. Annoying. Hopefully it will be resolved. We have to live with this. It is the limit.

“I trust everyone that it is going to get better and better,” he concluded.

Seven-time World Champion sets a time on intermediates in the 1:38’s on Intermediates, as the times keep falling with Sainz churning out a 1:35.944, one hour into wet running.

Three hours to go in Barcelona

As the track continues to dry out, the times continue to fall, with Sainz and Perez dipping into the 1:35’s, with the Intermediates being the tyres of choice.

Aston Martin confirmed that the cause of the fire on Vettel’s AMR 22 was an oil leak.

Haas, meanwhile are still working on repairing the VF22, hoping to get Mick Schumacher out on track soon.

Carlos Sainz records a 1:30.952, as Valtteri Bottas seems to be heading out on slicks, C3’s in particular.

The driver now are running on slicks with the lap time returning to the 1:20’s range, as Carlos Sainz sets a 1:24,476 on C4’s, then improves to 1:22.311 breaking into the top ten times.

A leaderboard update:

  1. George Russell – Mercedes – 1:19.233 – C5 tyre – 66 laps
  2. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:19.756 – C3 tyre – 58 laps
  3. Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin – 1:19.824 – C5 tyre – 48 laps
  4. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – 1:19.831 – C3 tyre – 44 laps
  5. Nicholas Latifi – Williams -1:20.699 – C4 tyre – 9 laps
  6. Lando Norris – McLaren – 1:20.827 – C3 tyre – 52 laps
  7. Fernando Alonso – Alpine – 1:21.242 – C3 tyre – 12 laps
  8. Guanyu Zhou – Alfa Romeo – 1:21.939 – C3 tyre- 41 laps
  9. Carlos Sainz – Ferrari – 1:22.311 – C4 tyre – 37 laps
  10. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri – 1:22.469 – C4 tyre – 40 laps
  11. Alex Albon – Williams – 1:22.652 – C3 tyre – 21 laps
  12. Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren – 1:24.896 – C3 tyre – 34 laps
  13. Nikita Mazepin – Haas – 1:26.229 – C3 tyre – 9 laps
  14. Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo – 1:30.433 – C3 tyre – 10 laps
  15. Sergio Perez – Red Bull – 1:32.677 – I – 24 laps
  16. Lewis Hamilton – 1:34.314 – I – 38 laps

But bad news for Mick Schumacher, as the team announced that the car will not be ready to run today. A miserable day for Haas on all accounts.

Third hour of the PM running

Nothing much to report except that all the drivers are now on different slick compounds, and pounding around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, working on getting those wet lap times down.

All the times set on the wet weather tyres are not featuring anymore on the leaderboard, updated below:

  1. George Russell – Mercedes – 1:19.233- C5 tyre – 66 laps
  2. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:19.756 – C3 tyre – 59 laps
  3. Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin – 1:19.824 – C5 tyre – 48 laps
  4. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – 1:19.831 – C3 tyre – 44 laps
  5. Alex Albon – Williams – 1:20.318 – C4 tyre – 41 laps
  6. Nicholas Latifi – Williams – 1:20.699 – C4 tyre – 13 laps
  7. Lando Norris – McLaren – 1:20.827 – C3 tyre – 52 laps
  8. Fernando Alonso – Alpine – 1:21.242 – C3 tyre – 12 laps
  9. Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren – 1:21.448 – C3 tyre – 44 laps
  10. Sergio Perez – Red Bull – 1:21.644 – C2 tyre – 34 laps
  11. Carlos Sainz – Ferrari – 1:21.776 – C4 tyre – 50 laps
  12. Guanyu Zhou – Alfa Romeo – 1:21.939 – C3 tyre – 41 laps
  13. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri – 1:22.469 – C4 tyre – 40 laps
  14. Lewis Hamilton – 1:23.030 – C2 tyre – 60 laps
  15. Nikita Mazepin – Haas – 1:26.229 – C3 tyre – 9 laps
  16. Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo – 1:30.433 – C3 tyre – 10 laps

Aston Martin also announced that they will not be running anymore today, with 1 and half hours remaining, from the final testing day at Barcelona.

AlphaTauri have not made an appearance yet on track, and with one hour to go, it is anyone’s guess if they will be able to run.

The final 60 minutes at Barcelona are upon us

Mercedes are in the region of 138 laps today with Hamilton lapping 72 times around the Catalan venue, following closely by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz who is on 70 currently.

A lap time update with 30 minutes to go:

  1. George Russell – Mercedes – 1:19.233 – C5 tyre – 66 laps
  2. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:19.756 – C3 tyre – 59 laps
  3. Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin – 1:19.824 – C5 tyre – 48 laps
  4. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – 1:19.831 – C3 tyre – 44 laps
  5. Alex Albon – Williams – 1:20.318 – C4 tyre – 62 laps
  6. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:20.410 – C2 tyre – 74 laps
  7. Sergio Perez – Red Bull – 1:20.441 – C2 tyre – 53 laps
  8. Nicholas Latifi – Williams – 1:20.699 – C4 tyre – 13 laps
  9. Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren – 1:20.750 – C3 tyre – 58 laps
  10. Lando Norris – McLaren – 1:20.827 – C3 tyre – 52 laps
  11. Carlos Sainz – Ferrari – 1:20.883 – C3 tyre – 70 laps
  12. Fernando Alonso – Alpine – 1:21.242 – C3 tyre – 12 laps
  13. Guanyu Zhou – Alfa Romeo – 1:21.939 – C3 tyre – 41 laps
  14. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri – 1:22.469 – C4 tyre – 40 laps
  15. Nikita Mazepin – Haas – 1:26.229 – C3 tyre – 9 laps
  16. Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo – 1:30.433 – C3 tyre – 10 laps

Will George Russell’s time set in the morning session hold firm? Sergio Perez has just posted a 1:19.556, three tenths shy of the Briton time.

Hamilton pops a 1:19.674 and moves to third place in the timing screens, using the C4 slick compound, the Mercedes ace exceeding 84 laps in the process.

The Briton doesn’t waste much time and goes fastest of all, with a 1:19.141, 0.092s faster than his teammate’s top time.

Hamilton backs off while on a flier that could have seen him going even faster, Mercedes playing games?

And that’s a wrap! The first pre-season testing session is complete, and from it seems, the teams bar a couple maybe have collected massive amounts of data, for the engineers to delve into over the coming weeks, as preparation for the second, official, pre-season test in Bahrain between March 10 and 12.

Lewis Hamilton finishes the day fastest of all, with teammate George Russell hot on his heels, as Sergio Perez takes third, ahead of Max Verstappen in fourth.

Hamilton’s tally of 94 laps puts him level with Williams’ Alex Albon as the most two to have run on the final day of Barcelona testing.

However it is Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz who ran the most number of laps over the course of the three days. Have a look at how each driver fared on the lap counter.

1. Carlos Sainz – 236 laps – 1103 km
2. Daniel Ricciardo – 212 – 991
3. George Russell – 209 – 977
4. Alexander Albon – 207 – 967
5. Max Verstappen – 206 – 963
6. Charles Leclerc – 203 – 949
7. Pierre Gasly – 187 – 874
8. Lewis Hamilton – 184 – 860
9. Sebastian Vettel – 174 – 813
10. Lando Norris – 155 – 724
11. Sergio Pérez – 152 – 710
12. Fernando Alonso – 141 – 659
13. Nicholas Latifi – 140 – 654
14. Esteban Ocon – 125 – 584
15. Lance Stroll – 122 – 570
16. Yuki Tsunoda – 121 – 565
17. Guanyu Zhou – 112 – 523
18. Mick Schumacher – 89 – 416
19. Nikita Mazepin – 71 – 331
20. Valtteri Bottas – 54 – 252
21. Robert Kubica – 9 – 42

Ferrari was the team who piled up the most milage.

1. Ferrari – 439 laps – 2052 km
2. Mercedes – 393 – 1837
3. McLaren – 367 – 1715
4. Red Bull – 358 – 1673
5. Williams – 347 – 1622
6. AlphaTauri – 308 – 1439
7. Aston Martin – 296 – 1383
8. Alpine – 266 – 1243
9. Alfa Romeo – 175 – 818
10. Haas – 160 – 748

A detailed report summary will follow on Grandprix247.

(Additional reporting by Agnes Carlier)