Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes might have topped the time sheet in the first day of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya, but it was Sebastian Vettel and the Ferrari SF70T that pulled off the most impressive feat of the session.
Vettel clocked 128 laps and was just over a tenth down on Lewis Hamilton’s quickest time on day one. Where last year, Ferrari seemed to focus on finishing at the top of the time sheets, this year’s test session see’s the famous red team silently putting in the donkey work below the radar.
Too below the radar for some, their social media blackout during the sessions was ripped apart in the Italian press and Tifosi’s made their annoyance clear. Italian Newspaper La Repubblica was quoted as saying:
“Starting the season with a news blackout is absurd. After the sad living nativity scene of the car launch comes this meaningless news blackout. A low profile asked by Marchionne is one thing, but this carelessness is quite another.”
But Ferrari are keeping their cards close to their chest, and for good reason. Vettel’s long stint on the medium tyres yesterday should give Mercedes some cause for concern. The Ferrari this season won’t be a dog, that’s certain.
In the morning session of day two, Kimi Raikkonen finished the session in 2nd, behind Hamilton. But the Finn again encountered no problems and looked strong. It’s a shame that these days the prancing horse is the dark horse, but the early signs in testing show a team that are focused and a car that seems very consistent on long runs.