Revealed: Ferrari improved by embarrassingly small margin on 2022 car

Red Bull claimed a dominant 1-2 at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix last weekend.

Red Bull are seemingly in a league of their own following the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, with data having shown that the Austrians improved by almost eight-tenths per lap, during their first two stints in the race.

Reigning World Champion Max Verstappen claimed a dominant victory in Bahrain, with it interestingly having been the 25-year-old’s first win at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Nobody was able to challenge the imperious Dutchman, who ultimately claimed the first win of the season by almost 12 seconds, from team-mate Sergio PĂ©rez.

Concerningly for their rivals, Red Bull were incredibly impressive both during qualifying and in the race, suggesting that they are going to be difficult to beat this season.

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Whilst Red Bull were just over seven-tenths faster per lap in Bahrain last weekend compared to last year, Ferrari were only 0.003s faster, highlighting the challenges currently facing the Italians.

To make matters worse for Ferrari, they appear to have power unit issues to solve once again, with Charles Leclerc having retired from third place due to an engine-based fault.

Even before his retirement, Leclerc was still going six-tenths per lap slower than Verstappen, before the Dutchman was told to slow down by his race engineer.

The second-best performing team at Bahrain according to were actually Aston Martin, with Fernando Alonso having been seven-tenths per lap slower than Verstappen.

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Despite this, Alonso would’ve challenged Leclerc for third had the Monegasque driver not retired, with Aston Martin’s pace having been almost on a par with Ferrari.

Based on the data from the first race of the season, Mercedes do appear to have dropped to fourth in the pecking order.

The Brackley-based team were almost a second slower than Verstappen per lap, whilst they were two-tenths slower per lap than Aston Martin.

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It means that the Germans aren’t even the best performing Mercedes-powered team, with their customer outfit currently having a slight edge.

To highlight Mercedes’ issues with the W14, Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas was just a couple of tenths per lap slower than Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

Current data does point to Mercedes being closer to the midfield than the leading teams, meaning there is plenty of work to do.