It may only be a slight indicator of how the car will perform through the Formula 1 season, but Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel is a happy man after the first day of pre-season testing in Barcelona on Monday.
The German topped the timecharts, with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Haas F1 Team’s Romain Grosjean clocking the second and third fastest times of the day.
Vettel, who put in 169 laps, said: “The first impression is very good. I could not have hoped for a better day as the car worked really well and we had no issues slowing us down. We completed the programme just the way we wanted.
“Coming here I was pretty open minded and had no expectations. I didn’t need that much time to familiar with the car, as it was making everything quite straightforward for me. I must say I am still a bit rusty, as I haven’t been driving for several months, but I’ll sleep well tonight.
“It is too early to sum it up as it’s just the first day. But I would like to send my compliments to everyone back at the factory in Maranello for how they tackled all the new rules and what they put on track today and also how the team is handling the car in a well prepared way,” he added.
Spaniard Sainz said: “It looks like our hard work has paid off. It’s been a very positive start as we’ve been able to run without big issues, play a bit with the set-up of the car and gather data to analyse. Good job everyone, because 119 laps on the first day is a good step.
“There’s still a lot of margin to improve the car. Following the first day’s work, we know more clearly the direction we want to try. Now we have the information for a strong de-brief, so we will keep working and moving forward.”
Frenchman Grosjean, who ran 65 laps of the car, said: “I think we can be happy enough with our day in terms of the car’s feeling. We didn’t have a smooth run in the morning, but saying that, the afternoon went better. We had lost a fair bit of track time, but we recovered to put in some good runs. The team’s done a good job again to produce a car that’s very nice to drive. There’s more work to do obviously, we need to understand the car, but at the minute I’m very happy with what we’ve got.”
First day’s timecharts:
(Read under driver – team – best time – no. of laps)
1. Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari - 1:18.161 - 169 laps
2. Carlos Sainz - McLaren - 1:18.558 - 119 laps
3. Romain Grosjean - Haas - 1:19.159 - 65 laps
4. Max Verstappen - Red Bull Racing - 1:19.426 - 128 laps
5. Kimi Raikkonen - Alfa Romeo Racing - 1:19.462 - 114 laps
6. Daniil Kvyat - Toro Rosso - 1:19.464 - 77 laps
7. Sergio Perez - Racing Point - 1:19.944 - 30 laps
8. Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes - 1:20.127 - 69 laps
9. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 1:20.135 - 81 laps
10. Nico Hulkenberg - Renault - 1:20.980 - 65 laps
11. Daniel Ricciardo - Renault - 1:20.983 - 44 laps