Formula One's new regulations have resulted in an array of vastly different cars, despite even more limitations on bodywork design. Today, those 10 cars start their 6 days pre-season testing, the first three of which at Circuit De Catalunya-Barcelona.
Sunny skies greeted F1, resulting in most drivers venturing out immediately as the lights went green. In fact, George Russel was so eager he left the pit box before 9:00, resulting in him taking to the track first with his new Mercedes W13. One hour later, Mercedes were already up to 20 laps, topping the leaderboard in terms of mileage and third fastest on the timing screen.by Albert Fabregas
Ferrari on the other hand saw Leclerc go fastest in the first hour, although mainly focusing on aerodynamic work thanks to a huge rearward rake fitted behind the diffuser over the entire width of the car.
McLaren and Alpine were a bit less active in the first hour but didn't appear to encounter any issues, despite Alpine saying beforehand they had focused entirely on performance. The French is also the only one with a very big redesign of its engine, so the team will be very keen to analyse engine behaviour on track, and validate cooling solutions before the power is turned up.
|F1 Testing – Day 1 Line-Up||AM/PM|
|Red Bull||Max Verstappen|
The top three teams went on to have busy mornings, resulting in Ferrari topping the timesheet with a 1:20.165 and a total of 79 laps. George Russell made it 77 for Mercedes and Max Verstappen, despite a sidestep through the gravel completed 80 laps in his Red Bull RB18. None of these teams appeared to have any difficulty, obviously helped by the relative lack of regulation changes for the engine department.
Williams' Nicholas Latifi did 66 laps while Norris, Vettel and Alonso were in the low 50's. Mazepin only managed 18 laps due to a coolant leak midway through the session that needed fixing before running could continue.
At Alfa Romeo Racing, Robert Kubica completed the morning session with a camo coloured helmet, exactly as its car before its livery gets unveiled later this week. The team said midway in the morning they were suffering some electrical issues, but "noting unexpected", and they were still on their running plan. Whether they were targeting only 9 laps in the first four hours of testing would however be quite surprising.
Leclerc, therefore, topped the times at noon, three tenths faster than Norris in the McLaren MCL36 and another additional three tenths ahead of George Russell for Mercedes.
|4||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||1:21.276||+1.111||52|
|5||Yuki Tsunoda||Alpha Tauri||1:21.638||+1.473||42|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing||1:22.246||+2.081||80|
|7||Fernando Alonso||Alpine F1||1:23.317||+3.152||54|
|9||Nikita Mazepin||Haas F1||1:24.505||+4.340||18|
|10||Robert Kubica||Alfa Romeo Racing||1:25.909||+5.744||9|
|11||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Racing||-||0|
|12||Mick Schumacher||Haas F1||-||0|
|13||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||-||0|
|14||Carlos Sainz jr||Ferrari||-||0|
World Champion Max Verstappen kicked off the afternoon session, soon followed by Valtteri Bottas in his Alfa Romeo. Bottas had none of the issues that plagued Kubica in the morning and soon could steadily improve his time, easily bettering what his Polish team mate did earlier on.
It was only half an hour into the session that Lewis Hamilton ventured out for his first laps, just after Verstappen ended his steady run on C1 tyres. Sainz and Tsunoda soon joined the party then as well.
Lance Stroll came in action another 20 minutes later as he aimed to get acquainted with the Aston Martin AMR22. Albon came on track minutes past 15:00.
Running proceeded uneventful without any stoppages, allowing every team to get on with their own business. And so they did, validating their cars. Red Bull Racing for instance fitted additional gills on their car for cooling and it was only in the final hour that some drivers improved their earlier times.
Lewis Hamilton had done a purple S1 once before backing out of the lap. A real improvement only came half an hour before the end of the session when Norris moved to the top of the timing boards. The McLaren driver set a 1m19.951s to leapfrog the two Ferraris on the C4 tyres. Alonso leapfrogged Albon for 10th, logging a 1m22.622, while Hamilton's return to the circuit after suspension tweaks yielded a 1m20.929s.
20 minutes later, Norris peeled off another 4 tenths off his previous best, ending the day on top with a best lap of 1:19.568.
|3||Carlos Sainz jr||Ferrari||1:20.416||+0.848||73|
|6||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||1:21.276||+1.708||52|
|7||Yuki Tsunoda||Alpha Tauri||1:21.638||+2.070||121|
|8||Fernando Alonso||Alpine F1||1:21.746||+2.178||127|
|9||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing||1:22.246||+2.678||147|
|10||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Racing||1:22.572||+3.004||23|
|12||Mick Schumacher||Haas F1||1:22.962||+3.394||23|
|13||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||1:23.327||+3.759||67|
|15||Esteban Ocon||Alpine F1||1:24.456||+4.888||0|
|16||Nikita Mazepin||Haas F1||1:24.505||+4.937||20|
|17||Robert Kubica||Alfa Romeo Racing||1:25.909||+6.341||9|