Daniel Ricciardo has broken the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya’s unofficial lap record on the second day of the final Formula 1 pre-season test, prompting rival outfit Mercedes to declare Red Bull Racing is a genuine threat in the forthcoming season.
The Australian’s fastest lap, a 1:18.047 around the 4.655-kilometre circuit, was over a second faster than Lewis Hamilton’s pole-winning lap posted at last year’s Spanish Grand Prix. His quickest time came in the early afternoon while running the Pirelli Ultrasoft tyre compound, the second-softest of the compounds available.
What was more positive for the Red Bull Racing team was the mileage its RB14 racked up: a hefty 165 laps in all, a tally beaten only by Mercedes who managed 175 tours.
Hamilton had been the morning’s pace-setter across the Medium, Super Soft and Ultra Soft tyres before being usurped by Ricciard’s stellar lap. The Mercedes driver finished up 0.353 seconds slower on his morning run before he stepped aside for teammate Valtteri Bottas, who lapped 0.160 seconds slower to go third-fastest.
After being quickest on the opening day of the second test, Sebastian Vettel was a sudden call-up to the Ferrari cockpit in the morning as teammate Kimi Räikkönen had taken ill.
The German seemed to suffer no ill effects from his marathon amount of driving the day before and spent his time conducting a race simulation. He still managed to go fourth-fastest, beating his fastest time from yesterday by eight-tenths of a second with his quickest lap coming on the Pirelli Soft tyres.
Räikkönen was sufficiently recovered to return to driving by the afternoon, adding a further 49 laps to his teammate’s tally of 66 although he could do no better than eighth-fastest overall.
Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley clocked a hefty 118 laps in the Honda-powered STR13, although the day was not without a few small dramas for the New Zealander. He had a spin and also suffered a stoppage at the pit lane exit, but went on to post his quickest lap on the Hypersoft tyres.
While Hartley gave the team’s engine partner Honda further credibility with more reliable running, the same once again could not be said of its former partner McLaren.
With teammate Stoffel Vandoorne managing a paltry 38 laps amid repeated breakdowns for the MCL33, Fernando Alonso got down to business in the morning and was the early pace-setter. With 47 laps under his belt and a fastest time of 1:19.856 posted on the Hypersoft rubber, the Spaniard suddenly ground to a halt after Turn 7 with an oil leak.
A complete power unit change was in order, consigning him to the garage for the next six-and-a-half hours before he was able to rejoin the track for the final 15 minutes of running.
McLaren’s dramas could not be laid at the feet of its new engine partner Renault, however, for the works team racked up a day’s high total of 190 laps between Carlos Sainz Jr. and Nico Hülkenberg.
The pair was split by Haas’ Romain Grosjean, the aforementioned Räikkönen and Williams’ Lance Stroll – all three drivers were separated by less than one-tenth of a second on the stopwatch.
|2018 FORMULA 1 PRE-SEASON TEST – DAY 6 UNOFFICIAL TIMES|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Daniel Ricciardo||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14||1:18.047||165|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:18.400||+ 0.353||90|
|3.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:18.560||+ 0.513||85|
|4.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:19.541||+ 1.494||66|
|5.||Brendon Hartley||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||1:19.823||+ 1.776||119|
|6.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:19.856||+ 1.809||57|
|7.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:20.042||+ 1.995||88|
|8.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||1:20.237||+ 2.190||78|
|9.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:20.242||+ 2.195||49|
|10.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:20.349||+ 2.302||63|
|11.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:20.758||+ 2.711||102|
|12.||Esteban Ocon||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:20.805||+ 2.758||130|
|13.||Charles Leclerc||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:20.919||+ 2.872||160|
|14.||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:22.350||+ 4.303||80|
Image via Aston Martin Red Bull Racing