Three of the four power unit manufacturers featured in the top four in the speed trap during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix as Sir Lewis Hamilton led the way.
For context, only Mercedes and Ferrari featured in the top 10 in the speed trap during practice for the same race in 2016, with Renault and Honda power much lower down in the early years of the Turbo-Hybrid era.
All four feature in the top 10 this time, with Fernando Alonso third in the Renault-powered Alpine, while Red Bull’s Sergio Perez’s had the highest Honda-powered top speed in eighth ahead of team-mate Max Verstappen in 11th.
Interestingly, both Williams drivers – Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi – found themselves in the top five as the Thai-Brit went second fastest, but Aston Martin, who are also powered by Mercedes, were right at the back with Sebastian Vettel 0.9 mph quicker in a straight line than Canadian team-mate Lance Stroll.
It displays the much-decreased dependency on power as a result of the new technical regulations, which require incredibly intricate work to perfect the performance of the chassis, and the fact that there is now less disparity between the engines means that building a sound car aerodynamically is ever the more important.
Over the finish line, Albon was quickest, while Perez had the fastest time going into the braking zone of Turn Four, which is the split between the first and second sectors.
The end of the second sector heading into Turn 10 yielded more speed for Hamilton than anyone else, just 0.1 mph ahead of Haas’ Mick Schumacher who, along with team-mate Kevin Magnussen, featured in the top 10 in the overall speed trap in the Ferrari-powered car.
The Ferrari team themselves, fascinatingly, were both outside the top 10 in the speed trap, and polesitter Charles Leclerc was all the way down in 16th.
It shows the emphasis that has to be placed on downforce at the Circuit de Catalunya after Carlos Sainz qualified third fastest behind Verstappen, who was dead even with the Spaniard in a straight line on Saturday.