Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was the standout during Wednesday’s Formula One pre-season testing, setting the fastest lap and crossing the 150-lap mark at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Montmelo, Spain.
The Australian’s time of one minute 18.047 seconds on the new hypersoft Pirelli tires lit up the timing screens on the second day of the final pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya.
The time was more than a second quicker than Lewis Hamilton’s 2017 Spanish Grand Prix pole position of 1:19.149 for Mercedes, and also quicker than any lap in last year’s winter testing. Track records set in testing are deemed unofficial.
Four-times world champion Hamilton, who was fastest last week, was second on the timesheets with a lap 0.043 seconds slower on the ultrasoft tires with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel third. Vettel, who did 171 laps on Tuesday when he was fastest, was drafted in for the morning after team mate Kimi Raikkonen felt unwell.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso was fourth fastest at the halfway point, with teams deciding not to break for lunch to make up for bad weather last week, and did 47 laps before pulling over with smoke coming from the car.
The team detected an oil leak and decided to change the Renault engine, costing the Spaniard several hours of much-needed track time.
Brendon Hartley banked yet more mileage for the new Toro Rosso-Honda partnership with 119 laps, with Nico Hulkenberg, Esteban Ocon and Charles Leclerc also breaking the 100-lap mark. Leclerc’s session finished a few minutes early when he slid off the track and into the gravel at Turn 12, bringing out the red flags.
The season starts in Australia on March 25.