Ferrari finally started to reveal their F1 2020 pace on the penultimate day of testing as Sebastian Vettel topped an entertaining morning session, which featured quick times on a drying track and multiple red flags.
Vettel and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen both had spins into the gravel that led to the session being suspended – while Valtteri Bottas went off track in his Mercedes – and Antonio Giovinazzi even had a shunt in his Alfa Romeo.
Those incidents provided the headline moments at the start of Day Two of the second and final winter test, but the timesheets were just as intriguing.
Vettel and Ferrari, quiet over the previous four days in Barcelona, burst into life as the four-time world champion set the pace with a 1:16.8 – more than a second faster than he had managed before Thursday.
His time was the third best of the winter so far but must also be taken into context as it was posted on C5 tyres, the same compound Valtteri Bottas posted a 1:15.7 – the leading time of the test – on last week.
Lance Stroll’s time, therefore, was also impressive as he was second at lunch for Racing Point, just two-tenths off Sebastian Vettel on the C3 tyres – while Williams’ Nicholas Latifi was just 0.4s off on the C5s.
Lando Norris posted McLaren’s best time of the test in fourth, with Verstappen and Bottas next on the timesheets with teams unable to get into their full testing programme due to the disrupted session.
Spins galore in Barcelona
Morning rain in Barcelona led to a quiet start on track but once it dried slightly, many drivers were caught out in the slippery conditions.
Giovinazzi lost control of his Alfa Romeo under braking into Turn Four, then hitting the barriers, to lead to the first red flag.
Bottas was the next driver to go off track, running over the gravel at Turn Five. But he fared better than Verstappen, who beached his Red Bull after a spin at the same corner. It was the Dutchman’s second spin of the day.
There was a long delay before the session restarted and it didn’t take long for Vettel to then carry too much speed into T5 and lose control of his Ferrari into the gravel, flicking the gravel up onto the track.
Drivers will hope the track rubbers in for the afternoon, when the times could well tumble again.
Test Two, Day Two: Lunchtime timesheet
1. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:16.841, C5 tyres
2, Lance Stroll, Racing Point, +0.277, C3
3. Nicholas Latifi, Williams, +0.472, C5
4. Lando Norris, McLaren, 1:17.573, C3
5. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +0.897, C2
6. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, +1.144, C3
7. Esteban Ocon, Renault, +1,172, C4
8. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, +1.384, C3
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