F1: glitch for Mercedes on the eve of the end of winter testing

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Montmeló (Spain) (hooly News)

Lewis Hamilton stopped on the edge of the smoke coming out of his car: Mercedes had to shorten due to a mechanical problem on its fifth and penultimate day of winter testing on Thursday at the Barcelona circuit.

The best time went to Ferrari's German Sebastian Vettel, in 1 min 16 sec 841/1000, on the softest and therefore fastest tires available to the teams.

The fastest on medium tires is the Canadian Lance Stroll, third at 277/1000, driving a Racing Point largely inspired by the Mercedes of 2019 and still as promising.

The Silver Arrow shared by the Finn Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton is content with the seventh and thirteenth and last time, but these times are to be taken with tweezers, each team following a different and jealously protected test program.

Most + teams also hide their game until the first Grand Prix of the season.

What is more annoying for Mercedes is that its six-time British world champion will have completed only fourteen laps due to an oil pressure problem which his engineers were investigating at the end of the day.

With trials reduced from eight to six days, each such incident is unfortunate, but the six-time defending champion drivers and manufacturers have no reason to tremble.

In the first pre-season test session last week, she largely dominated the debates with a record total of 494 laps and the only time under 1 min 16 sec (1: 15.732 for Bottas).

Above all, the German team struck a big blow by introducing a revolutionary system, the "DAS" (dual axis steering, which allows the pilot to directly modify according to his needs the spacing of the front wheels of his single-seater by pulling or pushing the steering wheel.

– The times will fall –

Other information to remember, the morning was not as productive as the previous ones, the teams having found on their arrival a wet track of the rain of the night.

The humidity and wind plots made the pilots' task a bit more complicated and provoked a series of spin-offs and outings of the track, with Vettel, Bottas or the Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull) for victims.

The ten teams are entering their final day of testing on Friday, which generally sees the lap times.

After concentrating on various and varied verifications and on long stints, "tomorrow we are training for qualifications", recalls Bottas, who adds: "the last day is rather devoted to perfecting the settings and balance of the car. "

An appointment is then made for March 15 in Australia, where the masks will finally fall.

Provided that the spread of the coronavirus epidemic, which has already led to the postponement of the Chinese GP from April 19 to a date yet to be determined, will not further disrupt the calendar.

A fortnight before the start of the season, the teams, Formula 1 and the International Automobile Federation (FIA) continue to follow developments.

Teams were also forced to change many flights because they could not stop in Hong Kong or Singapore on the way to Melbourne.