F errari has on the penultimate day of testing in Barcelona for the first time. Shortly before the lunch break, Sebastian Vettel drove several quick runs in a row as part of a qualifying simulation. On the very soft hypersoft tires, the Heppenheimer was able to lower his record with every attempt. In the end, a time of 1: 17.182 minutes was on the data monitor.
Nobody was faster on the Catalan Grand Prix circuit in this test winter. However, Mercedes is not participating in the time hunt this year. The world championship team seems to be so sure of its cause that the engineers decided not to order the fast hypersoft tires from Pirelli.
Haas impressively fast
So teams could meet on Thursday at the very front of the table, which one would not have expected there. The second fastest lap of the day was made by Haas driver Kevin Magnussen. The Dane was already 1.1 seconds behind the Vettel mark on supersoft tires, but if you factor out the rubber factor, the gap is reduced to just a few tenths.
In 3rd place was Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly made a sign of life. The Toro Rosso rookie was only 3 thousandths short of Magnussen in front of him. Nico Hülkenberg in the Renault was also aggressive. On hypersofts, the Rhinelander set the fourth fastest time in the morning - one and a half seconds behind Vettel. Team mate Carlos Sainz, who drove the black and yellow car in the afternoon, was 5 hundredths slower than Hülk on his attempt with little fuel and hypersofts.
With Pierre Gasly in the Toro Rosso, Stoffel Vandoorne in the McLaren and Marcus Ericsson In the Sauber there were three other midfield teams in the top half of the ranking. They all used their last day of testing to get a first feel for the potential of their company cars before the start of the season in Melbourne.
Mercedes racing simulation in a league of its own
Without information about fuel quantities and tire condition But it is difficult to draw conclusions about the balance of power from the best times. The racing simulations, of which the three top teams each unwound one on Thursday, are more informative. And here the picture looks a little different.
Valtteri Bottas completed his race against time before the lunch break. The Finn then got out with a big grinthe silver arrow. The comparison of his times with those of Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen, who drove a complete Grand Prix distance in the afternoon, showed why the mood in the silver camp was so good. Ferrari and Red Bull were each about a second short of the world championship team.
In terms of performance, the differences seem relatively large. When it comes to reliability, no negative outliers could be seen in the penultimate session of the winter tests. All cars completed well over 100 laps. Sebastian delivered the best value of the day with 188 laps. The Heppenheimer even cracked Nico Rosberg's old test record from the 2016 season. The Mercedes driver had completed 172 laps in Barcelona at the time.
Actually, for a long time it had looked as if Max Verstappen would not be the lap king to be taken more. But the Dutchman surprisingly did without the final start exercises after the official end of the session. So his counter stopped at 187 laps and Vettel passed with his three additional laps. Incidentally, his 188 laps correspond to 875 kilometers - almost three Grand Prix distances.
In the gallery we show you once again the highlights of the penultimate test day in Barcelona.