Lewis Hamilton topped the times on the fourth and final day of the first pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya – Barcelona. The four times champion set a 19.3 on the medium tyres putting him half a second faster than McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne.
The Mercedes driver set his fastest time in the latter part of the afternoon pushing the Belgian off the top spot. Vandoorne was the first onto the slick tyres, which then prompted the others to switch to the faster compounds.
But the four times world champion continued to lead the way, setting the best time that the team has managed all week. The lap was three tenths faster than the benchmark Sebastian Vettel’s time on Tuesday and was better than Hamilton had manage last year.
Vettel was third fastest almost a second off his rival’s best time. But it has been a successful day for McLaren, as the team currently sit third in the overall mileage chart a far cry from the test this time last year.
While McLaren has moved forward, it was a tough day for Red Bull. Max Verstappen spent most of the morning in the garage, before going out on the medium and soft tyres.
Verstappen was on a good lap and after setting personal bests in the first two sectors, the Dutchman spun off ending up in the gravel trap at Banc de Sabadell. Red Bull are yet to confirm the reason for the spin.
Verstappen’s off was one of three red flags during the day after Marcus Ericsson put his Sauber in the gravel at Turn 2 in the morning. Then Sauber teammate Charles Leclerc, caused a red flag when he ran wide at Turn Three during the afternoon.
Sergio Perez got his first drive in the Force India after his first test day was canceled because of the snow on Wednesday. The Mexican completed sixty-five laps, meaning the team has completed the least mileage of any of the teams.
It has been a low key test for Haas so far, but Kevin Magnussen put in the teams best time of the week going fourth fastest.
Carlos Sainz was the faster of the two Renault drivers in sixth place as the Enstone team again split their running as the team worked to improve the RS18’s early balance. His teammate Nico Hulkenberg was eleventh fastest over two and half seconds off.
It has been a successful day for Toro Rosso, completing one hundred and fourth seven laps. Pierre Gasly further proving Honda have got on top of the reliability problems they have had since returning to the sport in 2015.
Williams’s timing of its driver change meant Sergey Sirotkin was the only driver not to set a time on slick tyres, leaving him adrift at the bottom of the order behind the two Saubers.
After four days, it appears that Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull remain as close as they were at the end of last season. Mercedes are looking now to build momentum. One surprise has been the progress of the Honda power unit.
- BARCELONA TEST ONE DAY THREE – Alonso fastest in difficult conditions as teams chose not to run because of snow
- BARCELONA TEST ONE DAY TWO – Vettel set the pace in unseasonable cold weather going three tenths faster than Bottas
- BARCELONA TEST ONE DAY ONE – Ricciardo sets the pace as the top four remain close on track
- Prixview – Barcelona test