Carlos Sainz put McLaren in prime position to take top spot once again by leading day six at the lunch break, whilst Ferrari ended their morning in the barriers.
In a remarkably similar story to Lando Norris’ afternoon session on day five, Carlos Sainz set the pace before breaking down later on in the session.
Sainz’s lap time of 1:17.144 is the fastest of testing so far, and the McLaren driver set a lap time that was fractionally faster than the best time from last year’s pre-season testing.
He set the time on the C4 tyre, and ended the day one second clear of Sebastian Vettel, who encountered Ferrari’s first major drama of pre-season testing.
Despite their strong start in the first four days of the tests, reliability concerns have crept in for Ferrari after a “mechanical issue” contributed to a trip to the barrier for Sebastian Vettel.
Last year’s championship runner-up went off the track at turn three after something failed on the car, which sent the car straight-lining across the gravel trap and into the barrier.
Vettel was unhurt, but the car faces a lengthy assessment and rebuild prior to any running for Charles Leclerc in the afternoon session.
The delays to rebuilding the barriers meant the session was under red flags for just over half-an-hour, in what turned out to be a stop-start morning.
Max Verstappen was third-fastest in another productive stint for Red Bull Racing, completing 69 laps and finishing two tenths shy of Vettel’s second-placed time. He briefly caused a red flag when he stopped just after the pit lane exit, but this resulted in minimal time loss for the team.
Fourth-placed Valtteri Bottas was the busiest driver out there with 70 laps completed as the team generally focused on race preparations, including a lot of pit stop practices.
Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen completed the top six, whilst Racing Point’s Sergio Perez had a quiet morning by only completing 29 laps.
Robert Kubica gave Williams their fastest time of testing so far, but his 1:19.367 – on C5 tyres – is still some way from where they would want to be. He finished ahead of Haas’ Romain Grosjean and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.