Ferrari went furthest and fastest on the first day of testing in 2019, while Red Bull enjoyed a trouble-free first day with new engine partner Honda. Here are all the key talking points from Day 1!
Taking part in the first day of testing for 2019 were Kimi Raikkonen at Alfa Romeo, Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari, Romain Grosjean at Haas, Carlos Sainz at McLaren, Sergio Perez at Racing Point, Max Verstappen at Red Bull and Daniil Kvyat at Toro Rosso. Mercedes and Renault each split their driving duties, with Valtteri Bottas and Nico Hulkenberg driving in the morning and Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo taking over in the afternoon.
One of the biggest stories of the day was the absence of the Williams team, who missed the first day of testing due to their FW42 not being ready in time. The team issued a statement during the lunch hour, confirming that they would not be appearing in Tuesday’s test either, aiming to run the car for the first time on Wednesday “at the earliest”.
Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz waited alongside each other at the end of the pit-lane as the green light came on for the first of eight days of testing. No sooner had the first car gone out than the red flag appeared for the first time, with Kimi Raikkonen spinning off into the gravel just five minutes into the session.
Raikkonen’s off was the first of four red flag periods during the day. Romain Grosjean came to a halt two hours into the session, stopping at the final chicane following a fuel pressure loss. Carlos Sainz caused the third red flag when he stopped just beyond the pit exit an hour into the afternoon session. Both Grosjean and Sainz didn’t lose too much time as a result of their stoppages. Raikkonen caused the final red flag of the day with one minute of the afternoon session remaining, stopping at the side of the track just before the first corner.
Red Bull had a slow start to the day, having completed only one lap after 90 minutes of the morning session. Max Verstappen was soon turning in laps though, with Red Bull one of six teams to complete over a century of laps. All in all, a positive first day for the new Red Bull Honda partnership.
It was a busy day for the teams in general, with 961 laps completed in total – compared to the 725 laps completed on the first day of testing last season, despite there being only nine teams in attendance.
Ferrari completed the most laps today and set the fastest time, with Sebastian Vettel lapping with a 1:18.161 in the morning session – 1.2 seconds faster than any other team. Despite estimates that lap times this season would be 1.5 seconds slower than in 2018, Vettel’s time was over two seconds quicker than Daniel Ricciardo’s fastest lap time from the first day of testing last season, and was only a little over a second off the fastest time from all eight days of winter testing in 2018. The faster lap times can, in part, be explained by the better weather conditions experienced at the circuit today compared to twelve months ago. While Vettel had the pace, and the Ferrari looked stable on track, trackside pundits came to the conclusion that Mercedes and Red Bull were likely running on higher fuel loads than Ferrari. Nevertheless, with 169 laps on the board, it was a strong start to testing for the Scuderia.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW
DRIVER REACTION TO DAY 1:
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) February 18, 2019
Enjoyable 69 laps this morning 🏁
— Valtteri Bottas (@ValtteriBottas) February 18, 2019
— Nico Hülkenberg (@HulkHulkenberg) February 18, 2019
— Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) February 18, 2019
Tomorrow is finally the day for me to get back to the thing I love doing, driving !
📸: Marco Campelli pic.twitter.com/ZPtif1mnKL
— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) February 18, 2019
WINTER TESTING DAY 1 RESULT:
Testing continues at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya tomorrow. Follow @LightsOutF1Blog on Twitter for live updates throughout the day!
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. 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 and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.