Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel hit the ground running in the first day of 2019 Formula 1 pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona, topping the timesheet and clocking the most laps.
Vettel notched a total of 169 laps during the eight hours of running on the first of eight days of pre-season running.
His benchmark 1m18.161s was set during the morning session. Vettel first rose to the top of the times on the C2 tyre before switching to the yellow-marked C3 to reach his eventual pace-setting lap time.
A half spin on the exit of the tight chicane at the end of sector three was Vettel’s only stumble in an otherwise faultless start to testing.
Reigning champions Mercedes never attempted to match Ferrari’s times on day one. Valtteri Bottas piloted the W10 in the morning session before handing over to Lewis Hamilton in the afternoon.
Both drivers set their fastest time on the C2 tyre – the second hardest compound of the five available – and ended up eighth and ninth on the timesheet respectively.
On his first day of testing with new team McLaren, Carlos Sainz Jr vaulted to second on the timesheet with a lap late in the day. He was only 0.397s adrift of Vettel, albeit on the softer C4 tyres.
Sainz clocked significant mileage, recording 119 laps despite losing 45 minutes after triggering the only red flag period of the afternoon session when his McLaren failed to launch during a practice start at the end of the pitlane.
Haas’s Romain Grosjean ended the day in third. He suffered a brief excursion into the Turn 3 gravel trap during the morning session but was able to continue.
The team lost time before the lunch break when a fuel pressure problem caused the car to grind to a halt on track, albeit returning for an afternoon programme.
Kimi Raikkonen caused the other two red flag interruptions. First was a trip into the Turn 5 gravel five minutes into testing after a spin on cold tyres. No damage was done and the Finn returned to the track after being sidelined for 30 minutes.
Raikkonen ended the day by stopping on track in the final minutes of the session, bringing a premature end to the first day of testing.
He was pipped to fourth by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who enjoyed a productive first day with Honda power. Despite a slow start, he recorded a total of 128 laps.
Daniil Kvyat was sixth on his return to the Toro Rosso fold. He provided entertainment in the final hour of running, as he battled for track position with Hamilton.
Racing Point completed to least mileage of the day. While the car did not stop on track at any point, Sergio Perez only notched 30 laps ending up seventh after spending much of the afternoon in the garage.
Like Mercedes, Renault avoided headline times. Running the C2 compound, Nico Hulkenberg finished 10th and Daniel Ricciardo’s afternoon mileage left him 11th and last on the timesheet.
Williams was the only team not to turn a lap on Monday. The teams new car – the FW42 – is not yet in Barcelona and deputy team principal Claire Williams earlier confirmed that the squad is not likely to run on Tuesday either.