Vettel races at the fastest time – problems with McLaren
Sebastian Vettel gets better momentum on the fifth day of the test drives in Barcelona. The Ferrari driver sets the fastest time. McLaren’s struggling with problems.
Four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel first dictated the pace on the fifth day of the test drives in Barcelona. The Ferrari driver from Heppenheim set the best time of the morning session in 1:20.396 minutes under normal conditions for the first time. The 30-year-old made 86 laps until the start of the one-hour lunch break at 1 pm.
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was slightly slower in his best of 86 rounds in 1:20.596 minutes. The Finn hands over the Silver Arrow to World Champion Lewis Hamilton for the last four hours of driving. The Englishman had driven the fastest lap of the tests so far last Thursday in 1:19.333 minutes in still quite cool weather conditions (Formula 1 racing calendar)
Red Bull also held up well on Tuesday with Mercedes and Ferrari. Thus, the former world champion team nourished the assumptions of many experts to be on an equal footing with last year’s two top teams from the start of the season. In any case, Dutchman Max Verstappen did 85 laps without any visible problems and was in his fastest lap in 1:20.649 seconds only about two and a half tenths slower than Vettel.
Renault driver Nico Hülkenberg finished sixth with 1’21.432 minutes, and at noon he hands over his car to his team mate Carlos Sainz junior (Spain). McLaren had problems, the Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne was only able to do four laps because of a defect in the first four hours.
At the start of the second part of the test drives (until Friday) the drivers found sunshine and springlike temperatures in contrast to the snowy week before, the asphalt on the Circuit de Catalunya heated up to more than 30 degrees at noon. Good conditions are also predicted for the coming days.
Vettel will be on his last test run on Thursday, while his Finnish team mate Kimi Räikkönen will take over the Ferrari SF41H on Wednesday and Friday. Friday is also the last of eight days of allowed test days before the start on the 2nd day. March in Melbourne, Australia.