Formula 1

Red Bull lead the way on opening day of first Barcelona test

2 Mins read
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Daniel Ricciardo recorded the fastest time on the first day of Formula 1 winter testing as Aston Martin Red Bull Racing put down an early marker.

Ricciardo completed over 100 laps in the RB13 at a cold Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, setting a best time of 1 minute 20.179 seconds on the medium compound Pirelli tyres. Valtteri Bottas trailed by under two-tenths of a second for Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport, with Kimi Räikkönen rounding out the top three for Scuderia Ferrari.

Due to the unfavourable temperatures, the order and times remained unchanged in the quiet afternoon session.

World champion Lewis Hamilton assumed driving duties from Bottas in the afternoon, putting up the seventh fastest time – also on mediums – over two seconds adrift of Ricciardo.

Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. showed that the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team have promise; Hülkenberg managed the fourth fastest time with a competitive 1:20.547 and completed 73 laps – the most of anyone in the morning session – before handing over to Sainz Jr. The Spaniard clocked up a further 26 laps, bringing Renault’s tally to just shy of a century.

Alonso escapes major damage after early off

Fernando Alonso brought out the first red flag of the year after the right rear wheel fell off of his McLaren F1 Team MCL33, but he recovered to finish the day in seventh after losing just over an hour-and-a-half of track time. Alonso’s fastest time of the day – a 1:21.339, good enough for fifth – was invalidated after he used an inventive line through Turn 14 in order to pass the Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda of Brendon Hartley. McLaren’s total of 51 laps is a vast improvement on last year.

However, the biggest improvement of all went to Honda. Hartley racked up an astonishing 93 laps – the second most of any individual driver, behind Ricciardo – whilst setting the eighth fastest time and the second fastest speed trap reading.

Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Williams Martini Racing had a quiet day, with Lance Stroll enjoying a better start to winter testing in comparison to last year. He ended the day in ninth, with rookie team-mate Sergey Sirotkin unable to set a representative lap time after taking over from the Canadian.

Romain Grosjean was tenth for the Haas F1 Team, Marcus Ericsson eleventh for the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team and Nikita Mazepin put the freshly launched Sahara Force India F1 Team VJM11 in twelfth, only managing 23 laps in the morning.

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