F1 2019 has started the engines with many uncertainties

Formula 1® 2019 has started the engines at the Circuit with many uncertainties yet to be solved

German driver Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) clearly dominates the first day of the preseason, followed by Spanish driver Carlos Sainz (McLaren).

Formula 1

The Formula 1® single-seaters went back into action today, Monday, after an almost three-month break. And they did it at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, on a spring-like day that allowed fans watching placidly the new machines that will be fighting for the title in 2019. So far, the fastest time has been clocked by Ferrari with German driver Sebastian Vettel.

The Scuderia has proven to be the first team to arrive at the F1® Test Days with their homework well done. In addition to leading the clocks, they have also been the most active team of the day, with a total of 169 laps. Vettel has been ‘flying’ in the morning, to clock a fastest time of 1:18.161 on the new soft C3 Pirelli tyres.

No one else was able to drive faster, not even all-powerful Mercedes, who was on the track with Valtteri Bottas in the morning (1:20.127) and with world champion Lewis Hamilton (1:20.135) in the afternoon. At the end of the test, Carlos Sainz managed to get close to the fastest time (1:18.558), on his first day at the wheel of his flamboyant McLaren.

The only Spanish driver on the grid of the world championship after the retirement of Fernando Alonso completed a total of 56 laps in the morning. However, his single-seater gave a fright in the afternoon, stopping at the pit lane exit, and it took the Woking-based team almost three quarters of an hour to get back onto the track. This unexpected mishap did not hinder him from making a total of 119 laps.

At the end of the day, the Madrid-born driver clocked his best times on super soft tyres, thus rounding-up an encouraging debut with McLaren.  “We have to give us a good grade, especially because what matters most on the first day, is making a lot of laps rather than going for fast times. I have also had very good feelings with the new car. You can clearly see the work we have been doing at the simulator during the winter, although we know that we still have a long way ahead if we want to see results”, Carlos Sainz assessed.

Following him on the time sheets was Frenchman Romain Grosjean at the wheel of the Haas, with 01:19.159. Fourth fastest of the session was Dutch driver Max Verstappen (Red Bull), with 1:19.426, right ahead of Finnish driver Kimi Räikkönen (1:19.462) closing the top 5 with his new Alfa Romeo. Formerly known as team Sauber, they have been quite fast today, although with a few reliability problems that they will try to improve during the winter tests.

Toro Rosso finished sixth with a motivated Daniil Kvyat, who is back on the track as F1® works driver, after spending a season as Ferrari test driver. We will see if it is “third time lucky” for the Russian promise, who is currently one second behind the lead.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, will be a day filled with attractive novelties, with the presence of young talented drivers on the track, such as Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Pierre Gasly (Red Bull), Lance Stroll (Racing Point), Lando Norris (McLaren), Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), Alexander Albon (Toro Rosso) and George Russell (Williams). A generation of drivers who will, with no doubt bring a breath of fresh air to a championship that is looking for new idols.

The single-seaters will be lapping at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya from 9.00 to 13.00h and from 14.00 to 18.00h. The box office and gate 3 will open at 8.30h to let fans watch the session from the very beginning. The Main Grandstand, as well as Grandstand F and G will be open. Admission is free for all holders of a ticket for the FORMULA 1 EMIRATES GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA 2019, as well as for Circuit Members and Officials.

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