The second half of the Formula 1 Pre-season Testing took off today at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The day has been marked by high activity, especially as regards the number of drivers, which were eventually led by Robert Kubica (Alfa Romeo) on the time sheets.
In fact, the record of the number of drivers on the track during the preseason was broken today, and it was a reserve driver who clocked the fastest time. But despite being reserve driver, if there is something Robert Kubica is not lacking, that is practice. The Polish driver was the only one to lap below 1:16.942 at the wheel of the C39 and on soft tyres. The balance for Alfa Romeo was more than positive, considering that they have finished their second day on top of the timesheets, after the time clocked by Kimi Räikkönen last week.
Kubica swapped positions with Räikkönen, as did Hamilton and Bottas (Mercedes), Vettel and Leclerc (Ferrari), Albon and Verstappen (Red Bull), Sainz and Norris (McLaren), Ricciardo and Ocon (Renault), Gasly and Kvyat (Alpha Tauri), Stroll and Pérez (Racing Point), Latifi and Russell (Williams). Only Haas decided to give total control to Romain Grosjean today.
Almost all of the world championship entrants used the day to test novelties and different configurations. Alfa Romeo mounted, for example, a new front wing that seems to work; Williams did the same. Ferrari, in turn, tested the new configuration of the rear wing, while McLaren brought a new diffuser. Vettel and Sainz even mounted an experimental compound provided by Pirelli, without any type of marking.
Worth mentioning is that it took some time until the morning times were improved in the afternoon session. Running behind Robert Kubica (Alfa Romeo), there is Max Verstappen (Red Bull), who stopped the clock at 1:17.347; while Sergio Pérez did the same at 1:17.428, both in the late afternoon.
Closing the Top 5 there are both Alpha Tauri machines with Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly. Red Bull’s younger brothers tested today a new evolved Honda engine, with which they may have been able to improve a couple of seconds. The most evident proof of this Honda improvement is Alexander Albon (Red Bull), who was 12 thousandths of a second faster than Lewis Hamilton on the same tyre compound.
Talking about power units, Ferrari is the engine supplier of Alfa Romeo, who seem to have a great pace. However, Ferrari is in the focus of attention due to other reasons. In the morning session, Sebastian Vettel caused the first red flag with his spin. Four-times World Champion finished tenth today, while Leclerc was thirteenth.
Nonetheless, the German driver showed himself positive during the press conference held in the sports facilities, stating that “the feelings with the car are better than last year. We have focussed our efforts on improving the cornering and that is what we did”. “These are probably the fastest cars we have ever driven”, he added. Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto, wanted to highlight that “it is too early yet to judge the performance of the car”.
Access to the Circuit
The access to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will be through Gate 3 from 8.30am, and cars shall be parked in Car Park C (former IN6). The Main Grandstand, as well as Grandstand F and G will be opened to follow of the action on the track.