The surprise package of the Bahrain pre-season testing was undoubtedly AlphaTauri, who emerged as the second-fastest team on the grid. Ferrari came in third place, with Sainz 0.55 seconds slower than Yuki Tsunoda.

Pierre Gasly took the opportunity to reach out to Charles Leclerc to get a better idea of where Ferrari actually stands.

Many have speculated that Ferrari has only been sandbagging during pre-season and their engine is actually quite competitive this year. Former Ferrari test driver Marc Gene echoed these sentiments.

“I think Ferrari are kind of hiding and not showing too much. Compared to last year, I think they are clearly better,” Gene said.

I discussed it with Leclerc after the test and we exchanged a couple of messages, talking but not too much, just trying to [laughing] have an idea!

“I think we are close to each other. I don’t know if they are ahead of us or if we are slightly ahead. But they have clearly made a step forward.”

Gasly, meanwhile, wanted to harbour on the strengths of McLaren.

Not only has the team managed to sign Daniel Ricciardo, they will also be supplied by Mercedes.

Gasly believes they will be pretty competitive this year and thinks the team has managed to put a strong package together.

“I think McLaren seem to be a very strong opponent and competitor at the moment, especially with a Mercedes engine. They seem to have managed to put a strong package together,” he said.

Gasly went on to speak about how his car feels a lot better than last year and that he is optimistic about the season ahead.

Read more: “Thinking of quitting”: Bottas reflects on Mercedes instruction which made him lose faith in team

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