Despite the icy morning temperatures and the threatening snowfall, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya enjoyed another thrilling F1 test day. As the hours went by, the temperatures rose and the teams and drivers were able to warm-up. A clear proof of it is the 1:19.673 clocked by Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) that has become the new reference time of this preseason.
The morning outlook did not seem to be the best to test the latest innovations that the F1 teams are preparing for the 2018 season. Therefore, the teams decided to be rather conservative on this second test day and, as a consequence, kept their machines longer than usual in the garage, looking forward to better conditions. With the aim of making the best possible use of the day, the teams even took a rather unusual decision: to skip the traditional lunch break that was scheduled between 13h and 14h.
All of this resulted in an unusual scenario during the first test hours. Of the 10 drivers that went onto the track, only three clocked times before noon. The first serious time was made by Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren), who stopped the clock after 12h at 1:20.325 on Pirelli’s new hypersoft tyres.
But soon Mercedes and Ferrari decided to stretch out, with Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel on the track. They both had an interesting duel on the top of the time sheets, which was eventually won by the Finnish driver with 1:19.673 on soft tyres. It was the fastest time of the two test days, improving the time of 1:20.179 set yesterday by Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull).
Bottas finally had to settle for the second fastest time at the end of the day, with 1:19.976, closely followed by Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren), who was the surprise star of the day. Spaniard Carlos Sainz (Renault) finished the test after 65 laps with the fifth fastest time, behind Max Verstappen (Red Bull).
The presence of Robert Kubica was another of the great attractions of the day. Seven years after the serious accident he had during a rally in Italy, the Polish driver had his ‘debut’ this afternoon at the Circuit as test driver for Williams. The British team announced that after the start of the season, he will also be taking part in several free practices. Today, he covered almost 50 laps and clocked the 7th fastest time, ahead of his Russian team-mate. A promising start.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, although the teams have announced an attractive driver line-up, including Spaniard Fernando Alonso (McLaren). Fans wishing to attend the tests, can purchase their tickets on the Circuit’s website (www.circuitcat.com) for 18 euros.
Holders of a ticket for the FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA 2018 (from 11 to 13 May), have free admission to all of the test days. Circuit Members and Officials do not only have free admission to the test but do also have the chance to visit an art exhibition and a live painting performance by the artist Mark Ríos, in the Piso Box Member Area.