Scuderia Ferrari continued its strong start to the 2019 Formula 1 pre-season by once again topping the time sheets as the second day of testing drew to a close at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain.
After Sebastian Vettel took the new SF90 to the quickest time and highest mileage on Monday, it was the turn of the German’s new teammate Charles Leclerc to do the same. The Monégasque driver, in his first pre-season test for the Scuderia, came within a few thousands of a second in matching the time set the day before by his four-time World Championship winning stablemate.
The highly-rated youngster finished the day with a hefty 157 laps on the board, the most of any driver.
It did, however, fall short of the combined tally of 163 laps chalked up by Mercedes-AMG teammates Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, who split their running between the afternoon and morning sessions respectively. With the team clearly putting its early testing focus on building mileage and fine-tuning the car’s set-up, neither driver went for a headline-grabbing lap – Bottas’ best time was 1.2 seconds off Leclerc’s while Hamilton’s was a further 0.4 seconds adrift.
Third-highest on the mileage tally was Scuderia Toro Rosso, which gave its new signing Alexander Albon his first proper hit-out in F1 machinery. The Anglo-Thai driver showed some nerves with an early spin into the gravel as he exited Turn 4, followed by a second rotation later in the day on the approach to the RACC chicane.
Nonetheless, the Formula 2 Championship race-winner managed a solid 132 laps by the end of the day and was ecstatic with his first proper experience of F1 machinery.
“Today was up there with one of my all-time great experiences!” he beamed. “It’s been a really good day.
“At the start I was thinking to myself ‘Don’t spin it this morning’, and that’s exactly what I did! It was really tricky out there because the track was so cold that you couldn’t drive slowly – as soon as you drive too slow, your tyres get cold, it becomes unpredictable and it’s like driving on ice. Once I got into my rhythm it was a smooth day and we had no issues, apart from a couple of spins later on, but I was just exploring the limits to see what the car was capable of.”
The Renault team finished the day with 123 laps on the books for its RS19, once again splitting its driving duties between Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hülkenberg over the respective morning and afternoon sessions.
Ricciardo’s running was brought to a close early on when his rear wing’s upper element broke free on the start/finish straight, with the resulting loss of rear downforce causing him to spin under braking at Turn 1. He was lucky to avoid the barriers, but took no further part in proceedings while the car was repaired in time for Hülkenberg to take over in the afternoon – the German managed 95 laps.
Another driver to have a drama was Pierre Gasly, the man who took over Ricciardo’s race seat at Red Bull Racing. The French driver ran well in the morning but saw his afternoon session cut short when he spun at Turn 13, sliding backwards into the barriers. The contact damaged the rear wing of his RB15 and brought the Milton Keynes squad’s running to a close.
After managing little mileage on Monday, Racing Point had a rather more productive second day’s running with its Mercedes-powered RP19 challenger. With Lance Stroll having his first hit-out for the Silverstone team, the Canadian driver tallied 79 laps for the day.
The Haas F1 Team managed the fewest laps for the day, although Kevin Magnussen gave the team some cheer by going third-fastest in the Ferrari-powered VF-19. The Dane, however, was increasingly appearing to struggle with an ill-fitting seat and headrest to the point that it became too uncomfortable for him to drive in the afternoon.
The team opted to give its test driver Pietro Fittipaldi, the grandson of two-time F1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi, his first taste of F1 machinery. The 22-year-old Brazilian managed thirteen tidy laps before the test session concluded.
The Williams team’s FW42 challenger was confined to the garage for the second day running while it waits for the final parts of its car to be fabricated and shipped from its Grove factory. The team expressed hope that it would be able to post its first testing laps on Wednesday afternoon.
|2019 FORMULA 1 PRE-SEASON TEST – DAY 2 UNOFFICIAL TIMES|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:18.247||157|
|2.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:18.553||+ 0.306||104|
|3.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:19.206||+ 0.959||59|
|4.||Alexander Albon||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:19.301||+ 1.054||132|
|5.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:19.312||+ 1.065||101|
|6.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:19.535||+ 1.288||89|
|7.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:19.814||+ 1.567||92|
|8.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:19.837||+ 1.590||95|
|9.||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:19.886||+ 1.639||28|
|10.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:19.928||+ 1.681||74|
|11.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:20.433||+ 2.186||79|
|12.||Pietro Fittipaldi||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:21.849||+ 3.602||13|
|13.||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||no time||0|
Image via Scuderia Ferrari