Sebastian Vettel has returned to the top of the timesheets as the second and final Formula 1 pre-season test got underway at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
While the German and his Ferrari team left the day with the quickest lap and an eye-watering 171 laps of mileage, former rivals McLaren continued to struggle with reliability woes throughout the day.
Vettel moved to the top of the timesheets shortly after midday with an effort of 1:20.396 on the Pirelli Medium tyres, eclipsing Valtteri Bottas’ best lap on Soft tyres by two-tenths of a second.
Bottas would have over the controls of the Mercedes F1 W09 to teammate Lewis Hamilton for the afternoon. The reigning World Champion made steady progress up the time sheets and managed to place fourth-fastest with a late Soft tyre run. The two drivers combined to tally 177 laps for the day, equivalent to almost three race distances.
Splitting the two Mercedes drivers was Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen – his quickest lap came during the morning – although the Dutch driver did lose track time in the afternoon when his RB14 stopped at Turn 1. He was able to return to the track for the final fifteen minutes of running to ensure the car would be in top shape when teammate Daniel Ricciardo takes over.
McLaren’s woes have been in stark contrast to Honda’s new works team, Toro Rosso, although the team did suffer its first reliability glitch of the pre-season. With Pierre Gasly having gone a solid fourth-fastest, the Frenchman was forced to miss the last three and a half hours of the day while a brake system issue was investigated and fixed. The lost track time allowed him to be overhauled by Hamilton.
Like Bottas and Verstappen, Kevin Magnussen’s best time in the Haas came during the morning session. The Dane managed just under 100 laps for the day in the VF-18 and finished sixth-fastest ahead of Renault drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. who both had time behind the wheel of the RS18.
An off-season switch from Honda to Renault has not done McLaren any favours, it would seem. Stoffel Vandoorne was assigned driving duties and barely managed an installation lap before his MCL33 suffered a shutdown. An hour later and a similar problem would strike, this time when he was exiting the final corner.
The Belgian was back on track just before the lunch break, but more dramas would strike in the afternoon when the car suffered a hydraulics problem. All up, the team managed a paltry 38 laps of mileage for the day.
|2018 FORMULA 1 PRE-SEASON TEST – DAY 5 UNOFFICIAL TIMES|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:20.396||171|
|2.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:20.596||+ 0.200||86|
|3.||Max Verstappen||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14||1:20.649||+ 0.253||130|
|4.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:20.808||+ 0.412||91|
|5.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||1:20.973||+ 0.577||54|
|6.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||1:21.298||+ 0.902||96|
|8.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:21.432||+ 1.036||48|
|9.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:21.455||+ 1.059||93|
|10.||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:21.588||+ 1.192||42|
|11.||Sergio Pérez||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:21.643||+ 1.247||93|
|12.||Marcus Ericsson||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:21.706||+ 1.310||120|
|13.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:21.946||+ 1.550||38|
|14.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:22.937||+ 2.541||86|
Image via Scuderia Ferrari