McLaren’s Lando Norris was fastest on the opening day of the second pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya. The Englishman managed eighty laps and set the fastest time of a 1:17.709 going six thousandths than the Red Bull of Pierre Gasly.
Norris set his fastest time during the afternoon going over half a second faster than what he managed during the morning to push the Frenchman off the top spot. However, the day for McLaren wasn’t trouble-free, as he lost over ninety minutes because of a loss of hydraulic pressure.
More problems followed for Norris just be for the chequered flag fell, the McLaren driver stopped at the exit of turn x. Norris spent most of his day on long runs before a late series of qualifying runs moved him into the top spot.
Gasly had been fastest for most of the morning, before being pushed off the top spot by Antonio Giovinazzi, however, improvements in the afternoon saw him move back into second. The Frenchman’s time a 17.715, is the fastest time so far for Red Bull and his 136 laps is the best day of testing so far.
Gasly told Sky Sports “It was a really productive week last week and then to start the second week with that number of laps is clearly positive. But at the end of the day, we just need to work”
After reliable running in the opening tests and completing the most laps last week, Mercedes finally hit reliability problems. Valtteri Bottas stopped on his out lap during the afternoon, prompting the team into an engine change.
The team also brought a round of upgrades to their aero package, including a new nose, front wing and floor. This should not be seen as a response to last week’s Ferrari pace, rather a round of planned upgrades.
it did reflect the difficulty in drawing conclusions about competitiveness from pre-season testing times when development is constant and it is impossible to know in what specification the cars are running.
During the morning, teammate Lewis Hamilton had reliability and managed eighty-three laps finishing the day twelfth fastest, over two seconds off title rival Sebastian Vettel, as well as one and a half tenths off Bottas.
The five-times champion spent his morning focussed mostly on long runs on the C2 and C3 tyres. The same could not be said for Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who stopped on his out-lap in the afternoon with an oil pressure issue.
Vettel’s teammate also ran into problems, Charles Leclerc lost two hours running during the morning because of a cooling issue. Vettel then took over the car for the afternoon going fastest but had to settle for fourth fastest.
Racing Point’s Lance Stroll was a tenth off Norris’s fastest time. The Canadian going third fastest. The team expected to introduce an upgrade over the next two weeks ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.
A late improvement allowed Giovinazzi to go fifth, failing to retake the top spot during the afternoon. A late improvement by Alex Albon saw him go sixth, half a tenth off the Italian.
Again the midfield group remain close, with Giovinazzi, Albon and Kevin Magnussen all lapping in the 1:18’s using the same compound of tyres.
After last week’s difficulties, Williams enjoyed a decent day’s running George Russell managing 199 laps and broke into 1:19’s, finishing the day ninth.
Russell said “Great to get some laps on the car, just understand a bit of low fuel, high fuel, what the car’s doing, and gives us an indication of what to do the rest of the week.”
- BARCELONA TEST DAY FOUR – Nico Hulkenberg ends the first test fastest as Mercedes show their pace
- BARCELONA TEST DAY THREE – Daniil Kvyat sets the pace by half a second over Kimi Raikkonen
- BARCELONA TEST DAY TWO – Charles Leclerc keeps Ferrari on top by three tenths
- BARCELONA TEST DAY ONE – Sebastian Vettel sets the pace and leads mileage as McLaren show progress
- Prixview – Barcelona Testing