Ferrari began its 2019 Formula 1 campaign in style as Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheets at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya lapping almost four tenths second quicker than nearest rival Carlos Sainz of McLaren and posting an impressive total of 169 laps as testing got underway in Spain.
Vettel’s table-topping time was set just before the lunch break, with the four-time champion registering a time of 1:18.161. At the time that was almost 1.8 seconds clear of nearest rival Sergio Perez of Racing Point.
The time then served as the benchmark for the rest of running as Vettel settled for longer runs in the afternoon and the Ferrari man remained well over a second clear until a late flyer from McLaren’s Carlos Sainz more than halved the deficit. When a late red flag for Kimi Räikkönen’s Alfa Romeo ended running for the day, Sainz was 0.397 behind Vettel, though the McLaren had used the second softest red C4 compound to achieve his best time, while Vettel used the yellow C3 compound.
Third on the timesheet was Haas’ Romain Grosjean. The Ferrari-powered Frenchman set a best time of 1:19.159 to edge the Honda-powered Red Bull of Max Verstappen.
Verstappen got the team’s Honda era off to a positive start, with the Dutch driver posting a total of 128 laps, the second highest amount of the day behind Vettel.
Grosjean, meanwhile, only managed 65 laps with the Haas driver being stopping on track in the morning with a fuel pressure problem.
Former Ferrari star Räikkönen gave his new team Alfa Romeo a bright start with fifth place on the timesheet. Despite bookending the session with stoppages, the Finn posted a time of 1:19.462 and total of 114 laps in the Ferrari-powered car.
He finished ahead of Toro Rosso returnee Daniil Kvyat. The Russian driver, who spent last season working with Ferrari, set a best time of 1:19.464 for the Honda-powered squad.
The day’s lowest lap total was claimed by Racing Poinbt with Sergio Perez managing just 30 laps on his way to P7.
Behind the Mexican came the Mercedes pairing of Valtteri Bottas, who drive in the morning, and defending five-time champion Lrewis Hamilton. The duo only used the harder white C2 compound all day and though they didn’rt trouble the top end of the timesheet they got through the 155 laps.
The final two spots on the times were taken by Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo who also shared driving duties.
Williams, meanwhile, failed to take to the track with their new car still being finalised in the UK. They have also ruled themselves out of tomorrow’s running.
2019 Formula 1 Pre-Season Test 1, Day 1
1. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 169 1:18.161
2. Carlos Sainz McLaren 119 1:18.558
3. Romain Grosjean Haas 65 1:19.159
4. Max Verstappen Red Bull 128 1:19.426
5. Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 114 1:19.462
6. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 77 1:19.464
7. Sergio Perez Racing Point 30 1:19.944
8. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 69 1:20.127
9. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 81 1:20.135
10. Nico Hulkenberg Renault 65 1:20.980
11. Daniel Ricciardo Renault 44 1:20.983