Charles Leclerc was fastest on his Ferrari debut on the second day of the first test at the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya. The Monacan set as 1:18.24 and managed well over two race distances and going three tenths faster than the McLaren of Lando Norris.
Leclerc who joins Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari this season following his debut with Sauber last year spent most of the day a second faster than the rest of the teams. Norris then responded in the final hour putting in a lap which was six tenths off the pace.
Leclerc got faster throughout the morning on medium length stints on compound three yellow tyres, managing the most laps for a single driver. Although Mercedes continued to lead the way in terms of mileage.
Most of the teams spent the day focused on performance runs and completed a lot of mileage. Norris was second fastest managing an 18.5, setting his fastest time on the slower C4 compound, but was five thousandths faster than Sainz was on Monday.
Haas continued their strong start in the hands of Kevin Magnussen who managed a 19.2, but that was enough for the team to stay third. He then handed over to his teammate, Pietro Fittipaldi for 13 laps at the end of the day, managing a 21.8490.
Ferrari power was proving reliable, as Antonio Giovinazzi completed 101 laps in the Sauber going fifth. while Racing Point started to recover from Monday’s slow start with a total of 79 laps with Lance Stroll at the wheel.
Alexander Albon made his debut for Toro Rosso going fourth fastest. Like Gasly the Thai-Englishman spun his car into the gravel twice before setting his fastest time on the C2 compound.
A decent start, with the team putting the errors down to a setting change on the steering rather than a lapse from the driver. But Albon managed a 19.3, and 132 laps.
Albon told Sky Sports, “It’s quite funny because I’ve had that experience before of spinning on the out lap and I was like ‘ok, it’s not the first time you’ve done this, so don’t think about it’.”
However, for Gasly his debut for Red Bull ended an hour before the chequered flag after he crashed the car at turn twelve. The Frenchman lost the rear into the corner and smacked it into the wall. The accident brought his day to an end an hour before the chequered flag.
Gasly appeared mortified that on his first day as a Red Bull race driver he had crashed the car and sat for a few moments in the car before returning to the pits. Leclerc also had a moment, like Vettel he spun the car at the chicane.
Gasly told BBC News, “I’m excited to be back behind the wheel, it was important for me to do more than 90 laps in the car at my first day with Red Bull. It was amazing – after the winter break I was excited to get back, it was positive and we feel there is good potential with the car.”
While Ferrari set the pace, reigning champions Mercedes had another quiet day as they racked up the miles. Both Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton managed seventy-four laps each, the Finn going sixth fastest almost four tenths faster than the five-time champion.
Daniel Ricciardo also suffered in Renault, ending the day ninth, five hundredths off his teammate Nico Hulkenberg on the same compound of tyre.
Racing Point’s Lance Stroll conducted a variety of running during the day and set the 11th best time, ahead of Fittipaldi in the order.
Williams are still yet to turn a wheel in 2019, delays in building the car has meant it is still to leave the teams Oxfordshire base overnight.