Day Two of testing in Barcelona and we're starting to get a clear indication of what teams have hit the ground running. Mercedes, as expected, have picked up where they left off last year and already look the team to beat. Here's four thing's to take away from 2016 testing so far...
Mercedes Reliable As Ever
As mentioned and pretty much as expected, Mercedes have kicked off the 2016 season as they mean to go: burning through the laps and leaving everyone else behind. By lunch time of Day 2 testing, the German outfit had already set 237 laps, over 100 more than their nearest rivals, Ferrari. Lewis Hamilton is seemingly delighted with the new car, describing day one as 'amazing'. Red Bull's Christian Horner has admitted that the Mercs are the likely to run away with it again this year, but he pointed to Leicester City's miracle rise to top of the Premier League as inspiration for his team: anything is possible.
Ferrari and Vettel setting pace
Whilst Mercedes rack up the laps, it's actually Ferrari making a dent on the lap times. Yesterday, Sebastian Vettel was the fastest driver in the circuit, clocking a time of 1:24.939, around half a second quicker than Lewis Hamilton. Likewise during day two, it's the German and Ferrari setting the pace with a time of 1:22.810, seven tenths of a second quicker than Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull. Early season test sessions are notoriously poor indicators for what lies in the season ahead, but Ferrari will be quietly confident going into the season opener at Melbourne next month.
A Reliable McLaren
You can come out behind the sofa, McLaren faithful. Somewhat unexpectedly, McLaren Honda look reliable this year! To avoid having pie on my face next month, lets see how they get on in the competitive atmosphere of a race weekend, but McLaren are chalking up the laps like a team possessed this week! Their 155 laps by lunchtime of Day 2 was bettered only by Mercedes, as Jenson Button just eclipsed the 70 lap mark this morning. Not bad for an outfit that have had a terrible two years. With rumours that Fernando Alonso he wont race this year unless McLaren churn out something driveable this year, it seems like the Woking-based team have done just that. Are we seeing the shoots of recovery for this grand old team?
Renault Already Have A Blow Out
I'll leave it here with the somewhat despairing sight of a Renault blow-out. Ah well, that's what testing is all about eh? Ironing out the issues in time for Melbourne? Anyway, Jolyon Palmer's Day Two coming to an abrupt stop...