F1 2018: Pre-season testing day 2: Ferrari and Mercedes hit the front
Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas led the way on Tuesday as F1 testing continued in Barcelona.
Chilly conditions meant that the teams were slow to hit that track on day 2 in Barcelona. A brief snow flurry delayed this even further before Carlos Sainz was the first man to put in any serious running, unsurprisingly hitting the top of the time sheets. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas was the next one out, but the lack of grip was plain to see as the cars really struggled in these early stages.
Exploratory laps from other such as Pierre Gasly in his Toro Rosso only yielded similar results, and many drivers returned to the garage until the track warmed up a bit. This left only Bottas and Sergey Sirotkin in the Williams to continue to put the laps in.
This lull in activity didn’t last that long though and soon most teams were on track, and it didn’t take long for Bottas to overtake Sainz to sit top of the still fairly sparse time sheet. This was soon eclipsed by McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne, although before getting excited it should be pointed out that his time was set on the new hypersoft tyre.
Bottas soon returned to the top of the standings, and received an unexpected boost to his day 2 driving time when it was announced that the lunch break would be scrapped to allow teams more running after the slow start to the day. Mercedes took this step in order to not waste potential track time by swapping their one car over to Lewis Hamilton’s setup.
As what would usually be the afternoon session rolled around, many eyes were on the Red Bull garage after a fuel leak on Max Verstappen’s car curtailed the Dutchman’s running in the morning. The team however, seemed to rectify this and Max was out on track in the afternoon and managed to get some decent mileage under his belt.
Vettel soon moved into the lead as the track came to the drivers although he then caused a red flag after an excursion to the gravel trap. Fortunately, he was able to continue, but Sauber’s Charles Leclerc wasn’t as fortunate, and caused another red flag as his car was recovered from the side of the track, showing that despite the sunshine the track was still very slippery. Kevin Magnussen would emphasise this point as the afternoon session wore on.