Morning testing report: Kubica fastest as Vettel spins on first day of Week 2
Robert Kubica bowed out of pre-season testing by setting the fastest lap – a 1m16.942s – of the first morning session in Week 2, a time that put him six-tenths ahead of runner-up Pierre Gasly. Sebastian Vettel completed more than 80 laps – but saw his running interrupted by a spin halfway through the session that brought out the red flags.
Kubica's fastest lap in the Alfa Romeo was set with 40 minutes remaining before the lunch break, and on the softest (C5) tyre compound. The Pole managed 53 laps in what will be his final outing in the car at this test, before handing over to Kimi Raikkonen for the afternoon.
AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly snatched second spot in the timesheets in the dying minutes of the session with a quick run on the C4 tyre, to pop himself just ahead of Alex Albon in the Red Bull RB16.
But neither Honda-powered car managed to complete more than 30 laps, with Albon confined to the garage for the first three hours with an unexplained issue and finishing the session with just 29 under his belt, and Gasly completing four fewer than that.
Behind the Honda-powered pair was Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, who covered the most ground with 88 laps, and managed his fastest time of 1m17.562s on the C2 tyres.
Racing Point's Lance Stroll rounded out the top five and finished two-tenths behind Hamilton, having set his flying lap on C3s.
Ferrari's fastest time of pre-season testing so far was set by Sebastian Vettel, who completed a promising 84 laps and finished sixth.
However, he also brought out the first red flag of the session after a spin on the run to Turn 9, which dragged enough gravel back on to the circuit to force the officials to stop the session to clear it.
Renault's Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren's Carlos Sainz were seventh and eighth respectively, and split by just 0.007s at close of play, with Ricciardo completing 53 laps, and Sainz 46.
Williams showed promising early pace once again, but a late stoppage for morning runner Nicholas Latifi on the run-up to Turn 10 – with a suspected Mercedes power unit issue – brought out the second red flag of the session. He was fourth at the time, but fell to ninth overall.
Haas's Romain Grosjean, who managed 42 tours for the American squad and is the only driver who will return in the afternoon, rounded out the standings and was 1.728s off Kubica.
Jolyon Palmer’s verdict – Red Bull show 'eye-opening pace'
"Red Bull have grabbed the headlines, with that lap by Albon. Last week a fair few thought they might be the team to challenge Mercedes and this morning is further encouragement of that.
"They did miss a lot of running at a similar time to sister team AlphaTauri, so a cynic might say that's a Honda issue but both teams have denied that. Red Bull's reliability was fine last week, so while there are small question marks, the pace will still have been an eye-opener for many people."