Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was fastest on the first day of the second pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya – Barcelona. The German set a 1:20.3 on the medium tyres and racked up the most mileage for a single driver with one hundred and seventy-one laps, completing two and a half race distances.
Mercedes, however, continue to lead the way on mileage with both Valtteri Bottas completing eighty-six laps on his way to second two-tenths of the pace. While Bottas’s teammate Lewis Hamilton managed ninety-one laps going fourth fastest and was over a second and a half off Vettel’s pace.
Vettel set his fastest time on the Medium tyres just after the lunch break to go two tenths faster than Bottas on the soft tyres. While Red Bull’s Max Verstappen could only manage third fastest, and was two tenths off Vettel’s pace and completed a hundred and twenty-seven laps.
However, it was not a trouble-free day for the Dutchman, after he stopped on track with ninety minutes remaining. The issue was resolved meaning he could return to the track before the end of the day.
This week, teams will be looking to recover lost track time thanks to the cancellation of the third day because of bad weather last week. Both Mercedes and Ferrari lead the way in recovering that lost day, as both teams managed at least two race distances.
Things continue to look up for Toro Rosso and Honda, with Pierre Gasly making steady progress up the field on the soft tyre going fifth fastest.
While Honda is showing progress, the former partners McLaren show they still are suffering from engine reliability. The teams Renault power unit stopped during Stoffel Vandoorne’s installation lap, because of an electrical shutdown.
When he returned to track, he managed two more laps before the Renault power unit and its telemetry being fed back to the pits cut out a second time as he arrived on the pit straight. The car then remained in the garage until the final minutes of the morning session when Vandoorne returned to the track for three further laps.
Things got worse as a hydraulic issue caused him to stop at turn three. For McLaren, another day hampered by reliability leaves them with the least mileage of all the teams. There is believed to be no link between Verstappen’s and Vandoorne’s failures.
Pierre Gasly was fifth fastest in the Honda-powered Toro Rosso, setting the teams best time of the winter. However, a brake problem brought his afternoon to an early end, meaning his teammate Brendon Hartley failed to set a time
Kevin Magnussen was sixth fastest for Haas ahead of Nico Hulkenberg’s morning time in the Renault and Carlos Sainz’s afternoon time.
But the Renault duo and the Dane were very close, with Williams’s Sergey Sirotkin not far off with two-tenths splitting the quartet. Marcus Ericsson managed one hundred and eighteen laps for Sauber.
Lance Stroll finished the session at the bottom of the timesheets after completing eighty-six laps in Williams in the afternoon.