Ferrari returned to the top of the timesheet with the fastest time seen so far, while Pierre Gasly suffered his second testing crash. Here’s a round-up of all the action from the penultimate day of winter testing!
Taking part in today’s session were Antonio Giovinazzi at Alfa Romeo, Charles Leclerc at Ferrari, Lando Norris at McLaren, Lance Stroll at Racing Point, Pierre Gasly at Red Bull, Alex Albon at Toro Rosso and George Russell at Williams. Haas, Mercedes and Renault split driving duties for the day. Kevin Magnussen, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Hulkenberg drove in the morning session for their respective teams, while Romain Grosjean, Valtteri Bottas, and Daniel Ricciardo took over in the afternoon.
Ferrari revealed the cause of Sebastian Vettel’s crash yesterday, with a wheel rim issue being to blame. A spokesperson revealed that the rim had been damaged just before the crash as the result of an impact with a “foreign object”.
The morning session produced the fastest lap times seen so far in 2019, as, Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris, Nico Hulkenberg and Alex Albon all knocked each other off the top spot in quick succession. Albon became the first driver to bring the lap time below a 1:17, before Charles Leclerc set the day’s ultimate pace with a 1:16.231 on C5 tyres. However, there was a more intriguing time set by the Monegasque driver just before this, as he set a rapid 1:17.253 on the C2 tyres, the second hardest compound – perhaps a warning shot to their potential title rivals. Leclerc’s best three sector times gave an overall lap time of 1:16.166, seven thousandths faster than Lewis Hamilton’s pole time – and outright track record – set last season. Leclerc went on to cause the final red flag period of the afternoon, after the SF90 came to a stop on track.
The afternoon session saw three red flag periods in total. The first was caused by Pierre Gasly, who crashed heavily at Turn 9. The Frenchman escaped unharmed, though the same couldn’t be said of his Red Bull car. It’s Gasly’s second crash in testing this year, having also crashed at Turn 12 on the second day. He hands the car over to Max Verstappen tomorrow, so won’t step back in the RB15 until the Australian Grand Prix weekend. The second red flag of the afternoon was caused by Lance Stroll’s Racing Point, which came to a halt between Turns 9 and 10 – the same area as Leclerc would stop later in the session. Stroll had just passed 100 laps before his stoppage, making it the first time the team have reached the century mark on any day of testing so far this year.
Ferrari, Toro Rosso, Renault and Williams also crossed the 100 lap barrier for today, but it was Mercedes who completed the most laps. The team surpassed 1,000 laps in total for 2019, while Valtteri Bottas completed enough laps this afternoon to surpass Mercedes’ 2018 testing lap count. Hamilton and Bottas collectively completed a mammoth 182 laps, more than has been seen on any day by any single team so far this year. Meanwhile, an exhaust issue for Haas saw Romain Grosjean stuck in the garage for most of the afternoon, eventually completing sixteen laps in the final forty minutes. Red Bull were the only team to complete less laps than Haas, with Gasly touring the track 65 times before his incident.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW
WINTER TESTING DAY 7 RESULT:
Testing concludes 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. 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.