Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg set the fastest time of the first week of 2019 pre-season Formula 1 testing in Barcelona, beating Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon by two tenths of a second.
In the morning Albon maintained the hold on top spot established by Toro Rosso on day three, when Daniil Kvyat claimed that session’s fastest time, but this afternoon Hulkenberg moved well clear of the 1:17.637 to post a lap of 1:17.393. The time was the quickest of the opening four days of pre-season testing and like the Toro Rosso pair’s laps was set on the C5 Pirelli compound, the softest on offer this season.
Renault’s pace on the day might have been good – Hulkenberg’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo claimed P2 in the morning 1500ths of a second behind Albon – but the team’s reliability was less impressive. Ricciardo managed 34 laps in the morning, compared to 78 for the early session’s busiest man, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. And in the afternoon Hulkenberg managed just 24, his car stopping with a little over an hour left in the session.
Albon’s morning time was good enough for him to hold on to second place in the order ahead of Ricciardo.
Fourth place went to Valtteri Bottas as for the first time at this test Mercedes began to experiment with performance. Like the drivers ahead of him, the Finn’s best time of 1:17.857 was set on the C5 Pirelli compound. Bottas was followed by Lewis Hamilton, who finished 0.12s behind his team-mate. Hamilton’s time was set on the C4 compound.
Charles Leclerc finished sixth for Ferrari, with the Monegasque driver’s best time coming on the C3 tyre Ferrari favoured for much of the week.
After opting out of a late flying lap on day three, McLaren returned to the softer end of the Pirelli spectrum today and a late burst of speed on the C4 tyre gave Lando Norris the team’s best time of the week.
Behind the 2018 FIA Formula 2 championship runner-up, Sauber’s Antonio Giovinazzi’s posted a time of 1:18.511s to take P8 ahead of the Haas pairing of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.
Eleventh place went to Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly as the Honda-powerd team chose to focus on long runs mainly conducted on the C3 compound.
The final there places were taken by Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and the Williams pair of George Russell and Robert Kubica.
2019 Formula 1 Pre-Season Test 1, Day 4
1 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:17.393s 24
2 Alex Albon Toro Rosso 1:17.637s +0.244 136
3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:17.785s +0.392 34
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:17.857s +0.464 57
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:17.977s +0.584 58
6 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:18.046s +0.653 138
7 Lando Norris McLaren 1:18.431s +1.038 132
8 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1:18.511s +1.118 154
9 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:18.563s +1.170 64
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:18.720s +1.327 66
11 Pierre Gasly Red Bull 1:18.780s +1.387 146
12 Lance Stroll Racing Point 1:19.664s +2.271 72
13 George Russell Williams 1:20.997s +3.604 17
14 Robert Kubica Williams 1:21.542s +4.149 48