What did the first day of testing reveal? Early indications were that Mercedes had eliminated bouncing issues that had been plaguing their cars. Last year, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were seen bouncing down straightaways, causing significant discomfort and engine damage. However, it seems the Silver Arrows have resolved this problem with their 2023 car – the W14. This is a significant development for the eight-time world champions, but with testing only just starting, they have yet to begin seeking optimal performance.
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Red Bull looked ominously strong during testing, with Max Verstappen achieving the fastest lap time of the day, completing over two Grand Prix distances without any hitches. This suggests significant confidence from the Dutchman and his team, who opted to run Verstappen for the whole day and half of the next. This could be a sign of good things to come for the reigning world champions in their title defense.
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However, the same could not be said for McLaren, who struggled with brake problems last year. While their pre-season testing started well, the car experienced issues with the wheel brow during Lando Norris’ afternoon session, causing the team to spend extended time in the garage. They managed to get back on track after making some repairs, but their lap tally of 92 was the lowest of all teams.
Aston Martin also had a frustrating start to testing, with reserve driver Felipe Drugovich standing in for the injured Lance Stroll. However, Drugovich’s day got off to a bad start when his car experienced an electrical issue just 10 minutes into running, prompting the day’s only red flag.
The first day of pre-season testing may have revealed some promising developments, but with two more days to go, the teams will undoubtedly encounter more challenges and surprises. Will Mercedes be able to maintain their car’s stability, and will Red Bull continue to dominate? Only time will tell.