Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel set the quickest time of day two of the first pre-season Formula 1 test in Barcelona, outpacing Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas by three tenths of a second. McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne finished third on the timesheet a further three tenths back.
The day began in muted fashion as overnight snow and rain meant conditions were tricky early on and many teams avoided significant running before the halfway point of running. One of those was Red Bull Racing, with the Milton Keynes team being restricted to the garage for most of the morning after a fuel leak resulted in a length delay to Dutchman Max Verstappen’s first real taste of team’s RB14 challenger.
The track slowly improved across the morning and by midday Bottas was on track and making the running climbing to the top of the order on the soft tyre.
His time stood until mid-afternoon when Vettel also appeared on the soft tyre. The German chipped away his lap time over the course of the run and eventually nudged his Ferrari to a day’s best time 1:19.673s.
Bottas wasn’t done, however, and a switch to medium tyres saw him edge close to the Ferrari driver and set a personal best for the day of 1:19976.
Verstappen’s day began in earnest at around 2pm and over the following four hours he posted 67 laps to get to a best time of 1:20.326, set on medium tyres. That was just 0.001s behind third-placed Vandoorne who had set his time on Pirelli’s new hypersoft compound. However, after a decent return from Vandoorne’s morning efforts, McLaren opted out of afternoon running.
Fifth place on the timesheet went to Renault’s Carlos Sainz, with Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly in sixth. It was another solid day for the Italian team as Gasly logged a total 82 laps in the team’s new Honda-powered car.
Robert Kubica got his first taste of F1’s 2018-spec cars in the afternoon as he fulfilled his testing duties for Williams for the first time. The Pole put in 48 laps for a best time of 1:21.495 to sit over three tenths of a second clear of Williams race driver Sergey Sirotkin who drove in the morning.
Over at Alfa-Romeo Sauber, 2017 FIA Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc made his debut as a Formula 1 driver, with the Monegasque claiming 10th position. Leclerc’s outing wasn’t without mishap as a morning spin into the gravel traps at Turn 4 brought out the red flags for a brief period.
Formula 1 Pre-season Test 1, Barcelona – Day 2
1. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:19.673 98
2. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:19.976 +0.303 94
3. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:20.325 +0.652 37
4. Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:20.326 +0.653 67
5. Carlos Sainz Renault 1:21.212 +1.539 65
6. Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:21.318 +1.645 82
7. Robert Kubica Williams 1:21.495 +1.822 48
8. Sergey Sirotkin Williams 1:21.822 +2.149 52
9. Esteban Ocon Force India 1:21.841 +2.168 79
10. Charles Leclerc Sauber 1:22.721 +3.048 81
11. Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:22.727 +3.054 36