Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) has become the clear protagonist of the day at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, venue of the sixth test day of the F1 preseason. The Australian broke the unofficial record of the Catalan racetrack in its current configuration with a time of 1:18.047. He was also the driver to complete the most number of laps (165) including a Grand Prix simulation. It was thus a profitable day for the Austrian squad.
The combination of the new single-seaters with Pirelli’s softest compound and the renewed asphalt on the Catalan track seems to be explosive. If we add the excellent weather conditions enjoyed today, we should not be surprised that the clocks made sparks fly. Ricciardo recorded the quickest lap ever made on the current layout of the Circuit. His time improves the time set by Felipe Massa with Ferrari ten years ago: 1:18.339.
But Ricciardo was not the only one to lap below 1:19. The Mercedes drivers did it as well: Lewis Hamilton (1:18.400) and Valtteri Bottas (1:18.560). However, it should be mentioned that while Ricciardo was driving on hypersoft tyres, the Briton and the Finn were lapping on ultrasoft tyres, showing that they have still a clear margin for improvement. Moreover, the German team finished the day with another 175 incident-free laps.
Quite the opposite situation for McLaren today, with Fernando Alonso on the track. The Spaniard finished the day sixth overall on the timesheets, driving on supersoft tyres (1:19.856) right behind Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) and Brendon Hartley (Toro Rosso). But due to an oil leak in his car, the Spanish driver was only able to make 47 laps in the morning and 10 in the afternoon.
“I’m not worried at all about the number of laps, because I’m convinced that we are going to arrive in Australia perfectly well prepared and closer to the top than what the times are saying right now. The Circuit is perfect, no bumps at all, and perfectly well asphalted. I wish all tracks would be in the same condition as this one”, explained Fernando Alonso.
Fellow-countryman Carlos Sainz covered almost twice as many laps, although he only was on the track in the morning. The Renault driver clocked the seventh fastest time (1:20.042) and made 88 laps. “We still haven’t tried to make a fast lap. We focussed on testing different settings during a very productive morning, which allowed us to make a huge step forward. 1’18″0 is an amazing time. I don’t know what we’ll be able to do once we fit the hypersofts”, he explained.
In the afternoon, the Madrid-born driver showed his most human side taking part in a Charity Tour at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Around twenty people had the chance to get to know the facilities in depth; attend a speech about F1 and share a Meet and Greet with Carlos Sainz, during which they were able to talk to him and take pictures. The money raised through this initiative (around 1,900 euros) will go completely to Juegaterapia, a foundation that works in order to improve the life of children with cancer.
Meanwhile, the activity on the track did not stop during this sixth preseason test day, which witnessed a total of 16 drivers on the track. The extraordinary times forecast a great show for all those fans coming out to the Circuit tomorrow. Admission is free for all those already holding a ticket for the FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA 2018, (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.