A late charge by Daniil Kvyat ensured that Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda topped the timing screens on day three of Formula 1 winter testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Alfa Romeo Racing‘s Kimi Räikkönen had led the order for the majority of the day on the softest C5 tyres, before Kvyat’s lap of a 1 minute 17.704 seconds changed the order in the last 10 minutes.
The Russian recorded his best attempt on the same compound of Pirelli tyres as Räikkönen, beating the Finn’s time by just 0.058s, and completed an impressive 137 laps.
That total was just one shy of Räikkönen’s field-best total of 138 laps on a day where Alfa Romeo started to show its pre-season promise.
New Renault Sport Formula 1 Team signing Daniel Ricciardo moved up the order to claim third with an afternoon run on the C4 tyres, over four-tenths shy of Kvyat and Räikkönen.
Wednesday also marked the long-awaited first appearance of the ROKiT Williams Racing FW42 with debutant George Russell completing 21 laps in a shakedown for the Grove team.
The new car did not arrive in Barcelona until the early hours of Wednesday morning and was not ready to head out on track before lunch.
Deputy team principal Claire Williams confirmed that Williams is still awaiting the arrival of major aerodynamic parts, stalling the bulk of its progress.
As expected, Russell was the slowest of the 13 runners and languished around eight seconds off the ultimate pace due to the nature of the Williams programme.
Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow was fastest on Monday and Tuesday but Sebastian Vettel fell to fourth with a C3-shod best time of a 1:18.350, the German turning his attentions to longer runs in the afternoon session.
Max Verstappen ended Wednesday fifth in the order based on lap time and laps completed for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, with 109 laps returning a best time four-tenths adrift of Vettel on the same tyres.
Red Bull had recovered well from Pierre Gasly‘s late crash at Turn 12 on Tuesday afternoon to give Verstappen the opportunity of a full day’s worth of running.
Renault morning runner Nico Hülkenberg used the C2 tyres to good effect, a lap of 1:18.800 leaving him with his best time of the first test and sixth overall – down from third at lunch.
The German was three-tenths ahead of Rich Energy Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean, who stopped on track twice in the afternoon after taking over from test driver Pietro Fittipaldi.
The incidents marked the VF-19‘s fourth on-track stoppage in just three days, the most of any team on the grid, but Haas still managed a respectable total of 117 laps.
Fittipaldi was less than two-tenths off of Grosjean’s time, but the Brazilian-American put in his best lap on the C4 tyres compared to the C3’s for Grosjean’s run.
The 22-year-old also stopped with an issue in the morning at Turn 9 and triggered a red flag period.
Carlos Sainz Jr. and Sergio Pérez rounded out the top ten for their respective teams the McLaren F1 Team and the SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team on the C3 tyres, split by eight-tenths in the Spaniard’s favour.
Sainz Jr. had a piece of the MCL34‘s bargeboard detach itself on the pit straight in the morning and suffered a spin at Turn 13 in the afternoon after touching the grass on turn-in.
Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport ended Wednesday in the unfamiliar positions of eleventh and twelfth, Valtteri Bottas ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
In a continuation of its reliability and race-simulation programme, Mercedes is yet to use either the C4 or C5 tyres and completed an impressive total of 182 laps – split 94-88 in Hamilton’s favour.
|1||26||Daniil KVYAT||RUS||Toro Rosso||1:17.704||-||137||C5|
|2||7||Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN||FIN||Alfa Romeo||1:17.762||+0.058||138||C5|
|5||33||Max VERSTAPPEN||NED||Red Bull||1:18.787||+1.083||109||C3|
|9||55||Carlos SAINZ JR.||SPN||McLaren||1:19.354||+1.650||90||C3|
|10||11||Sergio PÉREZ||MEX||Racing Point||1:20.202||+2.498||67||C3|