After bolting on Pirelli’s brand-new ultrasoft tyres for the first time this pre-season, the German clocked a lap of 1m 22.810s in his SF16-H, which was not only nearly two seconds quicker than last year’s pole position time in Spain but also 0.715s quicker than Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo could manage on the same rubber.
Nico Rosberg was third quickest at the lunch break as Mercedes continued to rack up the mileage with their F1 W07 Hybrid. Last year's world championship runner-up - whose best time came on the medium tyres - added a further 81 laps to the 156 managed by Lewis Hamilton in the Silver Arrows yesterday, as well as trialling a number of new aerodynamic parts.
Sergio Perez was fourth for Force India in his maiden run in their new VJM09 machine, just ahead of Marcus Ericsson in Sauber's year-old C34 and Williams' Valtteri Bottas.
Pascal Wehrlein was an encouraging seventh for Manor, ahead of Renault's Jolyon Palmer and Haas' Esteban Gutierrez, who was consigned to the garage for the first 90 minutes of the session but later emerged with a newly strengthened front wing following the team's issues yesterday.
The only red flag of the morning was caused by Max Verstappen, whose Toro Rosso stopped on track after completing 35 laps. The car was recovered to the pits and the Dutchman did a further 24 laps before the chequered flag, finishing one place back of Fernando Alonso's McLaren, which completed 71 laps.
Tuesday morning's unofficial testing times from Barcelona
|1||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari SF16-H||1:22.810||46|
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer RB12||1:23.525||0.715||58|
|3||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid||1:24.867||2.057||81|
|4||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes VJM09||1:25.692||2.882||48|
|5||Marcus Ericcson||Sauber-Ferrari C34||1:25.734||2.924||49|
|6||Valtteri Bottas||Williams-Mercedes FW38||1:25.872||3.062||56|
|7||Pascal Wehrlein||Manor Racing-Mercedes MRT05||1:25.925||3.115||36|
|8||Jolyon Palmer||Renault R.S.16||1:26.189||3.379||41|
|9||Esteban Gutierrez||Haas-Ferrari VF-16||1:26.931||4.121||32|
|10||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda MP4-31||1:27.198||4.388||71|
|11||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso-Ferrari STR11||1:27.346||4.536||59|