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F1 - Barcelona II, day 1: Vettel quickest as second F1 test begins

Only 38 laps for McLaren

6 March 2018 - 18h24, by Olivier Ferret 

Sebastian Vettel set the quickest time of the opening day of the second and final pre-season test ahead of the 2018 FIA Formula 1 season, edging Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas by just two hundredths of a second.

Bottas made the early running on a busy morning for 2018’s expected front runners, putting in 86 laps on his way to a best time of 1:20.596, set on soft compound Pirelli tyres. However, he was deposed from top spot shortly before lunchtime when Vettel logged a lap of 1:20.396 using medium compound tyres.

Vettel also put in the day’s largest lap count for a single driver, working through 171 laps of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Third place in the session went to Red Bull Racing’s Max Versatappen. The Dutchman also used medium tyres in the morning to finish five hundredths of a second behind Bottas.

However, while Verstappen’s morning was fruitful, with the Red Bull man putting 85 laps on the RB14, his afternoon outing was interrupted by a Turn 1 stoppage that resulted in an hour lost as his team changed the battery of his car. He returned to the action 15 minutes before the flag to end the day with 130 laps to his name.

While Vettel achieved the most laps for as single driver, Mercedes topped the team lap count with Bottas’ 86 laps being supplemented by Lewis Hamilton’s 91 in the afternoon. The world champion’s work left him in fourth spot on the timesheet, 0.159s behind Verstappen.

Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly finished as best of the rest in fifth place with a best time of 1:20.973 that left him just +0.577 behind Vettel on the same tyre compound used by the Ferrari driver. It was a mixed day for Toro Rosso, as despite the solid times set by Gasley a brake problem in the afternoon restricted the Frenchman to just 54 laps.

Sxith place in the session went to Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, while Nico Hulkenberg was seventh for Renault. The German’s team-mate Carlos Sainz was eighth after taking over driving duties in the afternoon.

It was a tough day for McLaren, however, with the team suffering a range of issues during the day that mean Stoffel Vandoorne was only able to post a total of 38 laps all day.

01 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari SF71H 1:20.396 171 M
02 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W09 1:20.596 86 S
03 Max Verstappen Red Bull RB14 1:20.649 130 M
04 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W09 1:20.808 91 S
05 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso STR13 1:20.973 57 S
06 Kevin Magnussen Haas VF-18 1:21.298 96 S
07 Nico Hulkenberg Renault RS18 1:21.432 48 M
08 Carlos Sainz Renault RS18 1:21.455 93 S
09 Sergey Sirotkin Williams FW41 1:21.588 42 S
10 Sergio Pérez Force India VJM11 1:21.643 93 S
11 Marcus Ericsson Sauber C37 1:21.706 120 M
12 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren MCL33 1:21.946 38 SS
13 Lance Stroll Williams FW41 1:22.937 86 HS

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