F1 Pre-Season Testing: Leclerc puts Ferrari fastest for second straight day
If Ferrari’s plan is to demoralise their opposition before the start of the season, they had another good crack at it on the second day of pre-season testing in Barcelona, with Charles Leclerc ending up nearly three-tenths quicker than anyone else as the team finished fastest for the second day running.
Leclerc, driving in his first pre-season test for the Scuderia, put in his best time in the pre-lunch session, before appearing to focus on long-run pace in the afternoon and eventually clocking up a whopping 157 laps – the most of any driver.
Behind the Monegasque, Lando Norris was an impressive second for McLaren, putting in a lap just 0.306s off Leclerc’s pace, while Haas’ Kevin Magnussen capped off another positive day for the team, going third fastest, the same place his team mate Romain Grosjean finished yesterday. A bizarre blip, however, saw the Dane replaced by Pietro Fittipaldi at the end of the day, with Haas citing a seat-fit issue for Magnussen.
After starting his day off with a spin, Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon got into the groove on his first day of Formula 1 running in anger, ending up an encouraging fourth in the timesheets for the Italian team, ahead of the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi.
Pierre Gasly’s afternoon ended on a sour note after he spun his new Red Bull RB15 into the barriers at Turn 13, detaching the rear wing. Daniel Ricciardo, the driver whose seat at Red Bull Gasly inherited, was also having rear wing issues, after the top element of his Renault R.S.19’s wing flew off as he was blasting down the main straight at Barcelona.
The Australian was fortunate to avoid the barriers, while team mate Nico Hulkenberg was seconded onto long running during his afternoon stint as the team sought to make up for lost time.
So it’s Ferrari on top for a second day in a row. Are their rivals simply keeping their powder dry? Or are we looking at a season set to be dominated by the red cars? We'll find out more soon…