Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen topped the timesheet just three hundredths of a second ahead of Renault’s Carlos Sainz, as Formula 1’s first in-season test of 2018 got underway at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain.
Verstappen used hypersoft Pirelli tyres to set the best time of the day, a laps of 1:17.528s in the final hour of the session, pipping Sainz, who had bolted on the pink-banded tyres an hour earlier to climb to the top of the order.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel ended up third fastest with a time of 1:17.659 that left him 0.131s off the pace, while Romain Grosjean’s time of 1:18.449, which saw him top the morning order, was good enough to hold P4 on the timesheet at the end of running. The Haas driver also used the new Pirelli compound to set his best time.
Behind the quartet of regular F1 drivers, DAMS Formula 2 driver Nicholas Latifi gave a good account of himself, setting the fifth fastest time for Force India. The Canadian used hypersoft tyres to finish a second adrift of Verstappen.
Latifi’s afternoon best was good enough to shunt championship leader Lewis Hamilton to fifth in the order, with the Briton ending the day 1.015s behind Verstappen. The Mercedes driver’s best time was delivered on soft tyres in the morning. Hamilton did, however, rack up the day’s largest lap total, with the Briton working through 151 tours of the 4.655km circuit.
Seventh place went to McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne who used supersofts for his best time, while Sauber test driver Antonio Giovinazzi finished eighth ahead of Williams tester Oliver Rowland. The former GP2 driver, who is dovetailing testing duties with the Grove squad with a WEC campaign set a best time of 1:20.009s on supersofts as he posted a total of 121 laps.
Pirelli also conducted tyres testing on the day, with McLaren and Force India running second cars. Lando Norris took 10th place on the timesheet for the former before handing over to Oliver Turvey who finished 13th, while George Russell was 11th in the Force India Pirelli test car, ahead of Toro Rosso’s Sean Gelael.
2018 Formula 1 In-Season Test 1, Barcelona – Day One
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:17.528 148
2 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:17.562 119
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:17.659 136
4 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:18.449 129
5 Nicholas Latifi Force India 1:18.530 107
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:18.543 151
7 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:18.981 85
8 Antonio Giovinazzi Sauber 1:19.693 135
9 Oliver Rowland Williams 1:20.009 121
10 Lando Norris McLaren 1:20.997 76
11 George Russell Force India 1:21.478 123
12 Sean Gelael Toro Rosso 1:21.935 50
13 Oliver Turvey McLaren 1:23.070 58