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F1 pre-season testing - 10 things we learned

F1 pre-season testing - 10 things we learned

F1 News

F1 pre-season testing - 10 things we learned

F1 pre-season testing - 10 things we learned

McLaren is back

To get answers in testing you need only look at the faces across the teams and those in the McLaren garage had the biggest smiles of all.

An innovative diffuser that adheres to regulations but pushes the boundaries - a trait typical of F1 - unlocked pace compared to its rivals and despite not setting headline-worthy times on the final day, Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris were among the more positive drivers as testing came to a close.

Tsunoda is the next big Red Bull talent

Red Bull, McLaren and AlphaTauri were, without doubt, the three star performers of testing and, in Yuki Tsunoda, the latter has a real gem of a driver.

Tsunoda is one of three rookies on the grid this year but was the driver pushing Verstappen hardest at the close of play on Sunday, ending the day second and just 0.093secs behind the Dutchman.

Perez may have only just started his career at Red Bull, but the performance of Tsunoda will have the Mexican - who is on a one-year contract - already looking over his shoulder.

Aston Martin in trouble

Aston Martin launched the AMR21 with a star-studded presentation and the green livery immediately caught the eyes of fans. GPFans Global ranked it as the pick of the bunch!

Problems, however, with the gearbox and turbo plagued the team's preparations for the coming season, with Sebastian Vettel assessing he had lost 100 laps of running.

After finishing fourth in the constructors' standings as Racing Point last year, this was not the start of a new era the team had hoped for.

Alonso has still got it

When Alpine announced Fernando Alonso as one of its two drivers for the coming season, questions were immediately raised as to whether the 39-year-old still had what it takes to compete in F1. The short answer is an undoubted yes.

Not only did Alonso pile in the laps but he had pace over team-mate Esteban Ocon in the Alpine A521 which sports an oddly bulbous airbox. The Spaniard definitely has not lost it.

Ferrari set for another difficult year

Fuel loads are always an unknown factor in F1 testing but on any of its perceived low-fuel qualifying simulations, Ferrari failed to set any kind of eyecatching pace - save for one lap from Charles Leclerc on Sunday morning.

Whilst the McLaren garage smiled, the Ferrari garage frowned. Claims the power unit is an improvement from last year's woeful offering have been backed up by Haas and Alfa Romeo, but it appears another difficult year is ahead for the Scuderia.

A title battle - finally!

We end with a note of hope. In both 2017 and '18 Ferrari and Vettel did their best to provide fans with a title battle but this promise never fully materialised.

This year, if Mercedes can get on top of its early problems, a season-long battle between Verstappen and Hamilton could end the current era of aerodynamic regulations on a real high note.

Hamilton and Mercedes have often claimed to be keen on a title battle with another team and it could just be that the manufacturer has got its wish.

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