The first pre-season Formula 1 test at Barcelona gave us our first indication of the competitive order, and it seemed like business as usual with Mercedes fastest ahead of Red Bull.
But to help us understand a little better what the order appears to be, we can recalculate all of the best times of every driver to see what their pace would have been adjusted to the C4 tyre.
Pirelli says the C4 was one second faster than the C3 and that the C5 was 0.4 seconds faster than the C4. That makes some sense because the C5 tyre is a bit soft for Barcelona. Basically, you overwork the tyres in the fast corners in first two sectors then struggle in sector three as a result.
That is not a fault of the tyre, it is just the fact that high-speed, high-load corners are just a bit too much for Pirelli’s softest tyre, which will not be available on the Spanish Grand Prix race weekend. That’s why I haven’t adjusted the time for the C5, given there will be variation in the way that different cars and drivers manage that tyre over a lap.
It’s also a reason for not paying to much attention to individual sector times. If you were to use two or three sets of the C5 tyre and only push in one sector on each set then adding up those three best sector times you could probably do a blistering lap time, however on one set it wouldn’t be possible to repeat.
So this is the performance order of the teams from the actual test times of their fastest driver and the tyre that they achieved it on. I have also put the time achieved by each team’s other driver (note I didn’t say second driver) and also the tyre used to achieve that time.