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Abu Dhabi tire test 2018 (day 2): Ferrari breakdown at Leclerc debut

Abu Dhabi tire test 2018 (day 2)
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N oh dem Abu Dhabi Grand Prix fans in the desert have already got a glimpse of the coming season. Kimi Räikkönen (Sauber), George Russell (Williams) and Lance Stroll (Force India) were already out and about for their new teams on the first day of testing on Tuesday. On Wednesday, a few more pilots slipped into new racing overalls.

One could be particularly excited before Charles Leclerc's first appearance in the Ferrari SF71-H. The Monegasque junior had a very good rookie season at Sauber. Now a new era begins for the youngster. The newcomer in Maranello wants Sebastian Vettel to really heat it up right from the start.

In Abu Dhabi, he was able to sell his first fragrance brand. However, the day started with a small glitch. On the first run it tore off part of the side box panel. Just as the carbon was hanging in tatters, it was either a material defect or a foreign body on the track that hit the Ferrari. After changing the cover, the test day could be continued as planned.

First McLaren appearance for Carlos Sainz

You have to get used to the number 55 McLaren.

A junior driver has also been promoted to regular driver at Red Bull. Pierre Gasly joins the energy drink manufacturer's A-Team from Toro Rosso. He too wants to stand up to the top dog in the team, who is known to be Max Verstappen at Red Bull. The third changer who made his debut with the new team on Wednesday is Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard replaces compatriot Fernando Alonso at McLaren.

In addition to acclimatizing to the newAs on Tuesday, the main objective for the teams for the drivers was to get a first impression of the new generation 2019 Pirelli tires. The rubber supplier equipped the cars with both old and new slicks so that the drivers get a first feeling, give good feedback and collect usable data.

Leclerc faster than Vettel

Besides the mentioned drivers at Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren were also Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Lance Stroll (Force India), Robert Kubica & George Russell (Williams), Artem Markelov (Renault), Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso), Louis Deletraz (HaasF1) and Antonio Giovinazzi (Sauber) in action.

Because Pirelli specifies the program and the tire compounds used for all ten cars, the times in the classification are not very meaningful. Nevertheless, Charles Leclerc's best time suggests that the newcomer doesn't need too much time to settle in. The youngster's record was even three and a half tenths lower than Tuesday's record set by Sebastian Vettel.

However, the times are not entirely comparable. In addition to the different track conditions, the tires were also not of the same type. While Vettel was on his fast run on the 2018 Hypersoft tires, Leclerc had the new softest compound in the Pirelli range of 2019 strapped on.

In the gallery we show you the best pictures of the test day, including of course also the first photos of the change candidates in their new outfits.


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