Ferrari dominate Abu Dhabi post-season test

With events now well underway in Qatar, sports fans are no doubt turning their attention to the latest Football betting offers. There are however still a few stories making the F1 news headlines. Fernando Alonso’s switch to Aston Martin is one of the biggest stories of the week, but there has been some action on the track too, as all ten teams staying back in Abu Dhabi to take part in the post-season testing.

A traditional postscript to the season, this session sees each team provide two cars – one to provide invaluable experience to a young driver, and another to assist Pirelli with their tyre testing ahead of 2023.

It seems wise not to read too much into the results of this test session, but the afternoon in the Middle East nevertheless threw up a few interesting stories.

Ferrari Flying When It’s All Too Late

Having flown out of the blocks in 2022, with wins in the first two Grand Prix of the year, Ferrari will likely have been disappointed to fall so far adrift in the race, in what ultimately turned into a Red Bull procession.

The Italian outfit will likely spend plenty of time analysing what could have gone better during the season, with the early analysis suggesting that complicated aerodynamic adjustments weren’t able to keep pace with Red Bulls weight shedding modifications. Whatever the case may be, Ferrari did at least end the season on a high of sorts in filling the first three spots in this test session.

Number 1 driver Charles Leclerc was the early pacesetter, posting a lap time of 1:25.383. That mark was however overhauled by teammate Carlos Sainz, whose 1:25.245 would not be beaten. Closing out the clean sweep for Ferrari was youngster Robert Shwartzman who showed bristling promise in the manner in which he handled the car. Posting a solid early mark, Shwartzman found himself knocked back to sixth spot, only to rebound with a big personal best of 1:25.400 – only 0.17 down on Leclerc and good enough for third spot overall.

Promise from Pierre on Alpine Debut

Testing was also marked by several drivers making their first appearance for their new teams.

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Nico Hulkenberg filled 19th spot but was still the best of the Haas drivers on his first start for the US outfit. Fellow team debutantes Nyck de Vries (Alpha Tauri) and Oscar Piastri (McLaren) also lead home their team in finishing 8th and 14th respectively. Fernando Alonso wasn’t quite so slick, finishing middle of the pack in 12th, behind Aston Martin youngster Lance Stroll, but will no doubt be pleased to get a good feel of his new car at the track.

Possibly the standout performance of the session however came from Pierre Gasly as he got to grips with the Alpine machine vacated by Alonso. Threatening to break out following a debut podium in 2021, that never quite materialised, with a fifth-place finish in Azerbaijan being his best effort in 2022. The Frenchman nevertheless gained plenty of admirers due to his in-race pace and suggested here that the switch in car may not hinder his development. A man to keep an eye on in 2023 if Alpine can finally solve those reliability issues.