Formula One: Mercedes, McLaren difficulties in preseason testing

Sahil, Bahrain –

Pre-season Formula One testing will show who has the speed to win the title and who is already in trouble.

As Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz Jr. set the pace in Friday’s second morning session of testing, Mercedes struggled with set-up problems and McLaren admitted it had fallen short of its target so far. rice field.

Sainz has the fastest time so far in the two days of testing. American driver Logan Sargent, who joins his F1 with Williams, was just 0.063 seconds behind the time set on the softest and fastest tyres.

Of the 10 drivers on track in the morning session, Sergio Perez set the seventh fastest time for Red Bull, in contrast to team-mate Max Verstappen’s fastest time the day before. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was eighth.

Team principal Toto Wolff said the Mercedes car was “off balance” on the second day.

“It’s been hot and we haven’t found the right set-up for these conditions. It’s probably part of learning with the new car,” Wolff told British broadcaster Sky Sports.

Mercedes driver George Russell says the team may not be ready to challenge for wins and titles when the season starts next week at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

“I’m confident that eventually we’ll have a car that can be in that battle,” said Russell. “Whether we do it in Bahrain next weekend might be a bit of a stretch.”

The times set in testing were only a rough guide to the actual pace of the teams in the season and the cars were often set very differently, sometimes loaded with heavy fuel to mimic a full race distance. is. The title contender may try to hide his actual pace from his rivals, while the smaller teams may advertise for his fast lap times.

McLaren could still face a difficult start to the season for Lando Norris and rookie teammate Oscar Piastri.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown said: “We have a lot of development going on like everyone else so we are encouraged to have it just around the corner, but we are ahead of the forecast. “It’s going to be going into the first race off target.”

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