Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat was fastest on the penultimate day of the first test at the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya. The Russian managed a 1:17.7 and over two race distances to go over half a second quicker than Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Kvyat who is returning to F1 after a year out managed a hundred and thirty-seven laps on the second hardest tyre setting the fastest time of the test so far. While his nearest challenger Raikkonen set his fastest time on the second hardest tyre, although the fuel loads remain unclear.
The Finn had been fastest for most of the day, with him looking as if he could have held on until the closing moment of the day before Kvyat went five-hundredths faster than Raikkonen.
Kvyat told Sky Sports, “The priority wasn’t that [being fastest], the priority was to bounce back after the first day of mine which wasn’t ideal. But we’ve recovered enough and even more, so that’s great. A productive day.”
Raikkonen added “I don’t have any expectations, we can only do our best. The team has built a good car, it’s a good starting point. We have got things to work on but so far it’s been pretty good.”
After missing the first two days of testing, Williams finally ended their “embarrassment” and finally made it out on track. Although George Russell ended his first day thirteenth, eight seconds off the pace set by Kvyat.
However, Russell suffered a huge slide at the entry to the final chicane, which threw the car into the run-off area on his fastest lap.
Deputy team principal Claire Williams said: “It’s not a situation that we anticipated, or that we ever wanted to find ourselves in. We’re not just disappointed. It’s embarrassing not bringing a race car to a circuit when everyone else has managed to do that.”
The 21-year-old was eight seconds off the pace set by Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat, who – after a late run on the fastest tyre – pipped Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen by 0.058 seconds.
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo also improved late in the day on the second softest tyre to leap up the times to end the day ahead of Sebastian Vettel. While Ferrari didn’t lead the times on track, they continued to impress with their pace.
Vettel and his Ferrari team have been fastest on the opening two days, but his fastest time was two tenths slower than his personal best from the first day. It is believed that the Germans best time was set on the hardest tyres and during a long run, which says that there was even more pace in the car.
Its understood that Mercedes, as expected, will not show their true performance until the second test.
Five times champion, Lewis Hamilton told BBC News, Ferrari were “very strong. It appears they have a better package than last year, which means it will be a bigger challenge for us.”
Max Verstappen finally opened up his Honda-powered Red Bull going fifth fastest ahead of the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg. It was a low key day for the Dutchman, but he managed to remain ahead of the German’s morning time.
Haas suffered two on track stoppages one for each of its drivers, with Romain Grosjean almost two tenths faster than test driver Pietro Fittipaldi. McLaren failed to match the speed shown over the last two days as Carlos Sainz finished ninth, ahead of Sergio Perez and the two Mercedes drivers.
It wasn’t a trouble-free day for the Spaniard, going onto the rallycross circuit after losing time as the team made repairs. Running remained low for Racing Point, Sergio Perez ended the day tenth only managing a race distance finishing three seconds off the pace.