Just 16 laps were run on the third day of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Read all about it in Lights Out’s Day 3 Report!
The session was scheduled to start at 9am local time, but the conditions meant that the medical helicopter was unable to fly, so the start of the day’s action was delayed. Snow had fallen around the track, making for pretty, if not practical, images. Three hours later, the pit lane was finally opened, though it would be another hour until anyone ventured out on to the circuit. It was Fernando Alonso who broke the silence, taking a slow reconnaissance lap of the track on the full wet tyre before returning to his garage. The Spaniard seemed pleased with his performance.
Car is performing well in the snow so far. P1 in the morning session ?? pic.twitter.com/Gx16EgwhDE
— Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) February 28, 2018
Daniel Ricciardo soon followed suit, as did Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson. Ricciardo returned for a second lap, but took a trip through the gravel. Both Ferrari and Haas announced that they would not be running at all for the day, while Ricciardo left the circuit.
It would be another hour before the fourth driver braved the conditions. This time it was Robert Kubica, back in Williams’ FW41 for a second day, who was watched out of the garage by former Williams driver Valtteri Bottas. Brendon Hartley also followed the Polish driver out, though both returned after just a single lap. Over an hour later, the MCL33 was back in action, as Alonso completed a further two laps to put McLaren at the top in terms of mileage for the day – a rarity in recent seasons.
With half an hour remaining, both Alonso and Hartley returned to the track. Just ten minutes from the end of the session, Alonso finally set the first lap time of the day: a 2:21.268. Hartley’s Toro Rosso returned to the pits after one lap. As the chequered flag fell, Alonso came around to complete his tenth lap and improved to a 2:18.545. It’s the first time McLaren have been quickest in pre-season testing since the third day of the Jerez test ahead of the 2014 season.
TOTAL LAPS IN TESTING SO FAR
While reigning champion Lewis Hamilton has only turned 25 laps so far in testing, Sergio Perez is yet to step into the new Force India car. He’ll get his first chance tomorrow, as he’ll be driving in place of the ill Nicholas Latifi. Valtteri Bottas leads the way with the most laps completed over the first three days:
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||107|
|4||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso||94|
|6||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||82|
|10||Esteban Ocon||Force India||79|
|12||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||67|
|21||Nikita Mazepin||Force India||22|
|22||Sergio Perez||Force India||0|
The limited running means Mercedes have done only a third of the laps that they had completed by this point in testing last year. With their ten laps from today, McLaren move ahead of Haas, with the American team now having completed the least laps so far:
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its sixth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.