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Formula One 2018: Pre-Season Testing Recap – Day 6 (More Issues For McLaren)

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McLaren MCL33

Photo: Artes Max

Six of the eight Formula One pre-season testing days have elapsed and despite the brand new engine under the hood, McLaren remains at the bottom of the mileage sheet, having completed fewer laps than any other team: 355 laps or 1,027 miles in total, while Mercedes is on the cusp of breaking the 2,000 mile barrier.

More saliently, Toro Rosso—the team now boasting the Honda engine that McLaren spent years and the length of a new Amazon documentary series lambasting—has completed over 400 miles more than McLaren and has not run into any engine issues.

So what’s keeping McLaren behind this time? Today, it was an oil leak, which kept Fernando Alonso in the garage rather than at the track for nearly seven hours. However, the two-time champion insists everything is fine. “The issues we had are well under control,” he said.


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Meanwhile, the other Renault-powered drivers did not experience any issues, suggesting that McLaren’s continued problems are likely caused by the British team and not the French manufacturer…and that McLaren may not have been wholly free of responsibility for its issues with the Honda engine, which has been running superbly so far in 2018.

It was a perfectly good testing day for everyone else, with just two notable exceptions. Kimi Räikkönen, afflicted by a stomach virus, only completed 49 laps before giving the car up to Sebastian Vettel, who was scarcely able to rest after going around the circuit 171 times yesterday—the man, it seems, could test forever.

Charles Leclerc, one of the rookies of 2018, had been going strong in the Sauber but went for a trip in the gravel on his 130th lap just as the testing session was ending. Still, there was no damage to the car and he did complete the third-most amount of laps of anyone today, so he shouldn’t be feeling too down on himself on the way home.


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