One of the best things about attending pre-season testing in Barcelona is the ability to move around the circuit freely and view the cars at all the corners of the track. We spent both afternoons sitting up at the top of turn 13 where you can see the cars grind to a near halt at turn 10, then climb up through turn 11 and 12 before zooming past you into turn 13, then building up speed to tackle turn 14 & 15 before building up speed back up again to approach the final corner, turn 16.
It is this section of the track that the MRT05 looks slower to the naked eye than the others cars. During one of Pascals stint he was on track at the same time as a Force India and Williams and we timed him at 1 second slower than those cars. Of course, we have no idea the fuel loads and set up but this was the only part of the track that a difference was clear to the naked eye.
It’s also clear from watching the cars that Werhlein looks confident and assured driving the car whilst Haryanto looks nervous and cautious at the moment. At turn 10 he takes a completely different line to all the other drivers that day and it looked like the car was driving him instead of him driving the car.
Here is Pascal Wehrlein from day 2. As you can see he approaches me and enters turn 13 much quicker than Haryanto.
At present, it clear that there is a big performance gap between Wehrlein and Haryanto. The later has not had much experience in a F1 car which explains some of the difference at the moment. The other problem Rio Haryanto faces is that no one knows just how good Wehrlein can be. We suspect it is very good. Rio might be the first of many team mates Pascal outpaces. There is no doubt Mercedes rate him very highly and the top team in F1 would not be helping fund his drive this year if they did not believe he was a future world champion.