Testing – Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo’s top time from morning running in Spain remained fastest for the day as cold and wet conditions set in.
A cold and grey morning awaited the teams as the first official day of F1 2018 sprung to life in Barcelona. Force India and Toro Rosso showed off their new cars to the press in the hours leading up to the lights going green and official testing began – the first of just 8 days before the season begins in Melbourne in a month’s time.
As can be expected on such a day, the action was slow to get going, with installation laps the order of the day. Early times were put in by Raikkonen and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, before the first red flag was shown.
Exiting the chicane and entering the final corner, Alonso’s car slid and spun off into the gravel, leaving a helpless Spaniard stranded. Jumping clear, it became apparent the problem was due to the missing right rear wheel, a problem later explained by McLaren as down to a wheel nut failure. This resulted in McLaren missing most of the morning session as they fixed up the car again.
The wheels quite literally came off for Fernando Alonso earlier 👀
— Formula 1 (@F1) February 26, 2018
Valtteri Bottas led the way for Mercedes halfway through the morning, before a tete-a-tete developed between Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Raikkonen’s Ferrari. With both using the Medium compound tyres, they both continuously beat each other’s times to drop down into the low 1:21s, before a Soft compound time from Raikkonen saw the Finn set a 1:20.5. Hulkenberg, sent out armed with the Softs just before lunchtime, couldn’t match this.
With minutes remaining in the session and in his day before handing over to Lewis Hamilton this afternoon, Valtteri Bottas went back out with the Mediums, setting a 1:20.349 to go fastest. Moments later, Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull went fastest with a 1:20.1 on the Medium tyres, having had a relatively quiet morning up until that point.
The red flag was shown on one other occasion, when Nikita Mazepin spun his Force India at Turn 4 and got beached in the gravel. These stoppages resulted in the session being extended for an extra ten minutes before testing shut down for lunchtime.
Resuming in the afternoon, the threatening rain and gloom started to set in at the track, resulting in much reduced running. Carlos Sainz took over driving the Renault from Hulkenberg, as did Sergey Sirotkin at Williams from Lance Stroll, while Lewis Hamilton got his first taste of 2018 action in the Mercedes. While all made an appearance, they made little impact on the timesheets, with Sainz faring best by putting in a time good enough for P6.
Fernando Alonso also made up for his early troubles, putting in 51 laps in total over the day. His best time, set on the SuperSofts, was enough to place him P5.
Daniel Ricciardo made it to 105 laps completed to finish the day as the man with the most laps and the fastest time, with Brendon Hartley second on the mileage charts with 93 laps done for Toro Rosso Honda.
- Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:20.179 (Medium)
- Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:20.349 (Medium)
- Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:20.506 (Soft)
- Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:20.547 (Medium)
- Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:21.339
- Carlos Sainz Renault 1:22.168
- Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:22:327
- Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:22.371 (Soft)
- Lance Stroll Williams 1:22.452
- Romain Grosjean Haas 1:22.578
- Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:23.408
- Nikita Mazepin Force India 1:25.628
- Sergey Sirotkin Williams 1:44.148