After a rather straightforward couple of days at Barcelona, the final day of the first pre-season testing turned out to be quite eventful, with incidents happening all around. Initially, it seemed like most of the F1 teams had managed to build commendable cars despite the change in regulations, but the final day at Circuit de Catalunya managed to breach open their reliability issues.
Who topped the timesheets on the final testing day?
Lewis Hamilton! After Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris, each shared a day of glory, it is Hamilton who managed to step up on the final day of testing in Barcelona. The seven-time world champion put together a total of 94 laps and went on to clinch the fastest lap too, late in the morning.
Hamilton clocked a lap time of 1:19:138 while his teammate, George Russell wasn’t too far off with the fastest lap of 1:19:233. The latest Mercedes recruit completed 66 laps on Friday. Behind the Mercedes duo arrived the Red Bull duo, Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen, in that order.
While Perez completed 74 laps, the defending champion completed 59 laps. Then followed Sebastian Vettel who completed 48 laps and claimed P5 with the lap time of 1:19:824. Charles Leclerc finished P6 followed by the other Ferrari driver, Carlos Sainz. Alex Albon and his Williams teammate, Nicholas Latifi secured P8 and P9 while Daniel Ricciardo closed out the top 10 with a 1:20:750 on C3 tire compound.
It all began with Fernando Alonso, who had a decent start only to fall prey to a hydraulics issue in the car after completing 12 laps. The red flags did pop out for a while before the session got going. But soon after, Pierre Gasly crashed his AlphaTauri and brought out the second red flag of the day.
Then followed a couple of stoppages from the rookie, Guanyu Zhou before Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin caught on fire with barely minutes left on the clock for the morning session to restart. Turns out, the Aston Martin endured an oil leak which trigger the fire to erupt out of control.
Overall, it was a tough day for a few drivers but certainly a productive end to the testing for Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull, as the trio look to claim an on-track advantage over each other.