Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel got off to a flying start on the first day of preseason testing by setting the pace by well over one second.
Looking to get their 2019 challenge off to the bets possible start, the four-time champion wasted little time in beating the lap time set at the same stage of last season’s first day of preseason testing.
Daniel Ricciardo’s time on the first day of 2018 testing (1:20.1) was swiftly beaten by the mid-morning, with Vettel eventually lowering the benchmark to a 1:18.425, which was 1.5 seconds quicker than Racing Point’s Sergio Perez.
The overall best time from last year’s preseason testing was a 1:17.182, which fans will undoubtedly be looking out for as the times tumble.
He also clocked the highest number of laps with 72, with the only blemish for Vettel in his productive morning was a half-spin when exiting the final chicane early on in the day.
Perez was the only other driver to register a lap time quicker than a 1:20, and finished just ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.
Kimi Raikkonen’s first stint the Alfa Romeo C38 was a disastrous one. The Finn ended up in the gravel trap after losing control of his car at turn five.
The car was beached, and the session was red-flagged after only a handful of minutes, with the car needing to be recovered by the marshals.
There was a second red-flag stoppage when Romain Grosjean’s Haas car was brought to a halt. A loss of fuel pressure was believed to have been the reason for a power unit cut-out.
Results (Classification) (1:00pm):
- Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:18.161 72 Laps
- Sergio Perez Racing Point 1:19.944 20 Laps
- Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:20.127 69 Laps
- Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1:20.160 46 Laps
- Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:20.174 52 Laps
- Carlos Sainz McLaren 1:20.430 56 Laps
- Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:20.980 65 Laps
- Romain Grosjean Haas 1:21.500 18 Laps
- Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:21.732 35 Laps