Sebastian Vettel made the pace around the Circuit de Catalunya.
Sebastian Vettel made the pace around the Circuit de Catalunya.

Vettel hands Ferrari F1 testing boost

FERRARI driver Sebastian Vettel was the fastest around the Circuit de Catalunya on day two of the first Formula One pre-season test as Daniel Ricciardo made way for Max Verstappen in the Red Bull.

 

Vettel was in the Ferrari for the first time this season after teammate Kimi Raikkonen had the wheel on day one and posted a best 1 minute 19.673 seconds around the 4.655km track.

 

He caused a brief red flag by going into the gravel after that lap but could drive himself back to the pit lane.

 

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was 0.303 seconds behind having driven the whole day. The team abandoned their plan to swap to world champion Lewis Hamilton as time had already been lost to cold conditions early on.

 

With temperatures just above zero when the teams emerged in the morning, few competitive laps were recorded in the opening hours and the official lunch break was cancelled to give extra running time.

 

Warming the tyres to produce fast laps was all but impossible early on and some teams sent drivers out on intermediate tyres, normally for wet conditions, to save their normal rubber.

 

Each of the 10 teams can run only one car at a time so their drivers must rotate, either session by session or day by day, over the four-day test.

 

Verstappen was limited in his early running due to what Red Bull described as a "minor fuel leak" but was stronger later to finish fourth.

 

Ricciardo was fastest on day one.

Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari got an early jump on rival Mercedes.
Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari got an early jump on rival Mercedes.

 

Fans would also be heartened to see Poland's 33-year-old Robert Kubica return to F1 action seven years after suffering a rally crash which left him with limited use of his right arm.

 

He failed to secure a race seat for the season despite testing with Renault and Williams late last year but the British team saw enough to include him in their squad as a development driver.


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