Morning report: Perez heads the times as Hamilton causes a stir on Day 2 of testing
Sergio Perez kept up Racing Point’s positive pre-season momentum as the Day 2 running got going at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the Mexican heading the times for the team ahead of the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo. But it was one team’s trick new steering system that was really generating the headlines on Thursday morning…
Perez ended the morning session with a leading time of 1m17.347s, 0.371s off Lewis Hamilton’s best time from yesterday, with the only fly in the Racing Point driver’s ointment being a relatively low lap count of 48.
Ricciardo was 0.402s back, with Alex Albon finishing third after his first-ever pre-season test as a Red Bull driver.
After heading the timesheets yesterday, Mercedes’ Hamilton appeared to focus on long runs on Thursday morning, ending up a second off the pace in P7 as he clocked up 106 laps, the only driver to reach a tonne by lunchtime.
What was really getting people talking, though, was what was going in inside the cockpit of the Mercedes W11, with onboard footage showing Hamilton pulling and pushing his steering wheel, the movement appearing to alter the attitude of the car’s front wheels. It appears there’s been plenty going on over the winter months at Brackley…
Pierre Gasly recovered from an early-doors spin in the AlphaTauri AT01 to end up fourth, while George Russell kept up the buoyant mood at Williams by ending up fifth, and within a second of Perez’s time.
Meanwhile, after revealing that Ferrari had decided to play testing a bit more piano piano than they did 12 months ago, Charles Leclerc was presumably happy enough to slot into sixth, just ahead of Hamilton.
So, with the morning session done and dusted, fans will now wait to see Sebastian Vettel take his first laps in anger in the Ferrari SF1000 after lunch, with the German having been forced to sit out yesterday due to illness.