The second day of Formula 1 pre-season testing was held in near-freezing conditions with much of western Europe gripped by a late blast of wintry weather. Despite the chill, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel managed to clock the fastest lap time seen in testing to-date at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
The Montmeló circuit was threatened by overnight snowfall and when the pit lane opened for the morning session all of the teams were reluctant to attempt any significant mileage on the freezing track surface.
Carlos Sainz Jr. attempted a brief soft-tyre run in his Renault, with the Spaniard posting a relatively pedestrian benchmark time of 1:25.059. Beyond that there was scarcely any running in the first three hours of the session while the field waited for the track to warm under the weak sunlight.
Shortly before midday, Valtteri Bottas moved to the top of the timesheets in his Mercedes on a soft-tyre run before Stoffel Vandoorne usurped the Finn in his McLaren Renault. The Belgian was, however, running on the new hypersoft tyre compound which rather flattered the effort.
The action ramped up after midday, although the likes of Max Verstappen and Kevin Magnussen were sidelined thanks to a fuel leak and off-track excursion respectively.
Bottas again emerged on top in the unofficial battle of the stopwatch, while Sebastian Vettel put his Ferrari third-fastest with a late run before 1:00pm.
The pair would run in close proximity later in the afternoon, with Vettel being sent from the pit lane and emerging just behind the Mercedes. The German backed off to give himself clear track before posting three quick laps on soft tyres – each separated by a slower lap – that pushed him to the top of the timesheets.
Bottas would later emerge on the medium compound tyres and managed to lap just over three-tenths slower than Vettel to secure second-fastest for the day.
Vandoorne’s effort would prove good enough to keep third-fastest, however the Belgian didn’t appear on track after the lunch break when it emerged his car had an exhaust issue.
Having lost his morning session thanks to a fuel leak, Verstappen carried out a busy afternoon program for Red Bull Racing and finished fourth-fastest over 67 laps of running.
Carlos Sainz Jr and Pierre Gasly ran in close company on the timesheets for Renault and Toro Rosso respectively, with the latter continuing teammate Brendon Hartley’s encouraging Day 1 mileage with a total of 82 laps for the day.
The Williams FW41 achieved the highest mileage of the day’s runners with a century of laps, splitting its running behind rookie driver Sergey Sirotkin and reserve driver Robert Kubica. The Pole proved quicker than the man who beat him to the race seat in the team by three-tenths of a second, although he did have better track conditions at his disposal.
Esteban Ocon had his first outing in the new Force India VJM11, tallying a healthy 79 laps for the day.
Bringing up the rear were Sauber rookie Charles Leclerc and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, who both had eventful days. Reigning Formula 2 champion Leclerc twice spun in his first outing in the new C37, bringing out one of the day’s two red flags when his car swapped ends at Turn 4.
The same corner proved to be Magnussen’s undoing as well in the morning session, although somehow the Dane managed to avoid hitting the tyre wall after a high-speed slide through the gravel.
|2018 FORMULA 1 PRE-SEASON TEST – DAY 2 UNOFFICIAL TIMES|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:19.673||98|
|2.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:19.976||+ 0.303||94|
|3.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:20.325||+ 0.652||37|
|4.||Max Verstappen||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14||1:20.326||+ 0.653||67|
|5.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:21.212||+ 1.539||65|
|6.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||1:21.318||+ 1.645||82|
|7.||Robert Kubica||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:21.495||+ 1.822||48|
|8.||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:21.822||+ 2.149||52|
|9.||Esteban Ocon||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:21.841||+ 2.168||79|
|10.||Charles Leclerc||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:22.721||+ 3.048||81|
|11.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||1:22.727||+ 3.054||36|
Image via Scuderia Ferrari