Sebastian Vettel has bounced back from the yesterday’s calamities to top the timing sheets in what was a fraught second day of the second week of pre-season testing at Barcelona, with several drivers encountering issues throughout the day.
Vettel set a time of 1m 16.841s on the softest compound tyre (C5), which would not be eclipsed for the remainder of the session. It is the first time that Ferrari have finished on top of a session in this year’s pre-season testing.
However, it wasn’t without incident, as Vettel brought out the red flag after spinning off at turn five. Despite drying rapidly, the damp conditions during the morning session meant that the kerbs remained particularly slippery, and subsequently caught out a host of drivers.
Mercedes’ day did not run smoothly, with Hamilton stopping out on track after just 14 laps owing to an oil pressure issue. Mercedes would not run Hamilton again for the remainder of the session. Team-mate Valtteri Bottas completed only 47 laps, finishing seventh in the session. Overall, the Mercedes pairing only completed 61 laps between them.
Pierre Gasly posted a time late into the afternoon session which bolstered his AlphaTauri into second place, just ahead of Racing Point’s Lance Stroll – albeit set on the softest compound tyre (C5) whilst Stroll set his time on the medium compound (C3).
Nicholas Latifi demonstrated modest pace in his Williams, posting a time less than half a second off Vettel’s time. He also completed the most laps of any driver with 159. McLaren’s Lando Norris finished the session fifth-fastest with 113 laps complete as the team carried out long runs throughout the session.
Vettel was not the only driver to bring out the red flag during the session, as Max Verstappen spun at the same corner and requiring a rescue truck to retrieve his RB16 from the gravel trap. The Dutchman managing just 31 laps during the morning session; handing over to team-mate Alexander Albon for the afternoon session.
Antonio Giovinazzi’s session did not run according to plan, as the Italian brought out the red flag following a spin at turn four. After crashing into the barriers and bringing out the red flag, Giovinazzi limped his Alfa Romeo back to the pits, but not before his rear wing disintegrated toward the end of the second sector.
Tomorrow will be the last day of pre-season testing before they head for the season opener in Melbourne which will be run on the 15th of March.