The F1 Test Days have started their second round today, Tuesday, at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, enjoying favourable weather conditions with sunshine and spring-like temperatures. The teams made good use of the excellent conditions to lap as much as possible, especially Mercedes and Ferrari, which were the clear dominators. In addition to clocking the fastest times, both teams were able to do more laps than any other.
Speed and reliability. These are the targets set by all F1 teams, being aware that these will be essential requirements to be successful during the 2018 season. So far, Mercedes and Ferrari seem to be way ahead of the rest in both aspects, although they are closely followed by Red Bull. Things would have to change a lot in order to alter this panorama during the three remaining test days.
The fastest time was set today by Sebastian Vettel, who clocked 1:20.396 before the lunch break on medium tyres. Second on the timesheets, behind the German driver, was Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas (1:20.596), on soft compounds.
Moreover, both Ferrari and Mercedes showed off with their reliability along the day. Good proof of it is the fact that Vettel was the driver who completed the most number of laps: 171 in total. On the other hand, the German squad finished the day with a total of 177 laps, adding the performance of Bottas (86) and Hamilton (91), who split up the work between them in the morning and the afternoon.
Third in the game, just like last season, is Red Bull. Max Verstappen clocked the third fastest time (1:20.649), on soft tyres. Moreover, the team managed by Christian Horner, was also able to clearly exceed 100 laps in total, 130 to be precise, although one hour and a half before the end of the session, the RB14 stopped at the end of the straight after some trouble.
Less encouraging day for McLaren, with Stoffel Vandoorne on the track. The car of the Belgian driver stopped twice on the track and had to be taken back to the garage on the assistance truck. Bad omen for Fernando Alonso’s team, who is scheduled to be testing tomorrow at the Circuit.
Carlos Sainz did lap today, although only in the afternoon. The Madrid-born Renault driver, finished more than one second behind the fastest driver, although with a substantial payoff of 91 laps without any apparent mechanical failure. In the morning session, team-mate Nico Hülkenberg was able to make additional 48 laps for the team. The feelings of the French team are quite positive.
Carlos Sainz will also be playing a leading role tomorrow, Wednesday, but off the track, since he will be collaborating with the Charity Tour that has been organised in order to raise funds for Juegaterapia, a foundation that works in order to improve the life of children with cancer. The initiative consists in a guided tour around the most restricted spaces of the Circuit, a speech about F1 and a Meet&Greet with the Renault driver. The price of this exclusive experience, which also includes the ticket for the F1 Test Days, amounts to 100 euros.
The sixth day of the preseason will be especially attractive for spectators, after the announcement that Fernando Alonso (McLaren), current World Champion Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and one of the big aspirants to dethroning him, Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) will be on the track tomorrow. Admission is free for all those already holding a ticket for the FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA 2018, to be staged from 11 to 13 May, as well as for Circuit Members and Officials. The rest of the fans can purchase their tickets on the Circuit website and at the Box Offices for 18 euros.