Hamilton Ends Final Day of First Test on Top ahead of Vandoorne


Lewis Hamilton was fastest on day four in Spain
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Lewis Hamilton ended the final day of the first pre-season test of the season at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya at the top of the time sheets, with the reigning World Champion denying Stoffel Vandoorne top spot by just over half a second.

The Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport set a best time of 1:19.333s to end the day as the fastest runner as fifteen drivers took to the track to attempt to make up for lost time following Wednesday’s snow day in Spain.

Hamilton’s lap was set on the medium compound of Pirelli tyre, and it meant Vandoorne’s best lap of 1:19.854s, set on the new-for-2018 hypersoft compound was only good enough for second place, but the encouraging thing for the McLaren F1 Team was the reliability they showed on the day.

Vandoorne completed one hundred and ten laps before handing the driving duties of the MCL33 to team-mate Fernando Alonso, who completed fifty-one more laps, with the Spaniard ending the day with the fifth fastest time.

Sebastian Vettel ended the day with one hundred and twenty laps in Scuderia Ferrari’s SF71H, with the German, runner-up in the championship to Hamilton last season, third fastest, 0.908 seconds behind his rival, while Kevin Magnussen was also within a second of the pace in fourth place for the Haas F1 Team, with the Dane completing ninety-six laps throughout the day.

Behind Alonso was his fellow Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr. in sixth, with the Renault Sport Formula One Team racer also sharing driving duties with his team-mate, with Nico Hülkenberg finishing down in eleventh.

Lance Stroll was seventh for the Williams Martini Racing team, with the Canadian completing fifty-four laps on board the FW41 having taken over from team-mate Sergey Sirotkin. Unfortunately for the Russian, he failed to get a representative lap time on the board thanks to being on track only when it was wet, meaning his intermediate tyre best of 1:31.979s left him at the back of the pack.

Sergio Perez finally got his first taste of the Sahara Force India F1 Team’s VJM11, with the Mexican completing sixty-five laps and ending eighth fastest, ahead of Max Verstappen of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing.

Verstappen caused a red flag during the afternoon session, with the Dutchman ending in the turn twelve gravel trap. He was recovered to the pits but the RB14 did not return to the track after, and he will be disappointed to have run only thirty-five laps on Thursday.

Pierre Gasly was the busiest driver of the day, completing one hundred and forty-seven laps of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya onboard his Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13, with the Frenchman ending tenth, 2.801 seconds off the pace, just ahead of Hülkenberg and the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, who completed sixty laps in the morning before handing over to Hamilton.

The two Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team drivers shared the driving responsibilities in the C37-Ferrari, with Charles Leclerc completing fifty-nine laps having taken over from Marcus Ericsson, who had ran seventy-nine laps earlier in the day. The duo finished thirteenth and fourteenth respectively, ahead only of the intermediate-shod Sirotkin.

Stoffel Vandoorne was second fastest on Thursday – Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd