Ferrari expected to be F1 favourite team after pre-season testing in Spain

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Madrid, Feb 25 (IANS) Ferrari is expected to be a hot favourite to achieve big results in Formula One (F1) this season after analysts reviewed its drivers’ data on Monday in the wake of the latest pre-season tests held at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit.

Ferrari’s new single-seater SF90 version of the blood-red Prancing Horse race car showed strong performance due to its potent power plant which Germany driver Sebastian Vettel made the most of, being the fastest during last week’s testing, stopping the clock 0.397 seconds ahead of other competitors.

“Ferrari for sure is the fastest car,” said Red Bull’s Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko, reports Efe news.

“Behind that, it’s Red Bull and Mercedes,” he added.

The Italian motor racing team managed to simulate a Grand Prix race, completing a total of 598 laps, as Ferrari aspires to accumulate the necessary kilometres that will allow its new car to arrive in the best form at the season’s first race session, the 2019 Australian Grand Prix on March 15-17.

The SF90 proved, during last week’s four-day testing, to be reliable and superior to its rivals on the track, while Ferrari’s drivers; the four-time Formula One World Champion Vettel and his teammate Charles Leclerc of Monaco, have expressed how comfortable to drive the new car is and how easily they could get it to deliver optimum performance.

Both drivers have been changing their strategy last week, as one was going through testing during the morning, and the other in the afternoon.

For his part, defending champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes did not show his usual dominance.

However, it seems that the German team has yet to play all its cards.

Hamilton of the United Kingdom and Finland’s Valtteri Bottas dedicated those four days to accumulating kilometres.

They notched a total of 610 laps, and are yet to show their true pace while performing with a softer tyre compound during this week’s testing.

Meanwhile, the Red Bull team – with a Honda motor – has completed a total of 475 laps, but its drivers Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and France’s Pierre Gasly did not show anything special.

Team McLaren did not begin well, a spokesman said.

“There was a small fire in the garage during the team’s private filming day. The fire was quickly extinguished by the team, and circuit emergency services and medical teams attended immediately in support,” the spokesman said.

“Three team members were taken to the medical centre for treatment and were released shortly after,” the spokesman added.

–IANS

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