Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Vettel quickest as Ferrari and Mercedes rack up miles

2018 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel was quickest as the second and final pre-season F1 test began at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The Ferrari driver had a productive day, covering the highest mileage of any individual driver. But rivals Mercedes achieved the greatest total of all, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas covering 174 laps between them as they shared driving duties in the W09.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018
2018 pre-season testing day five in pitures
Both teams might have covered more ground had it not been for a spate of red flags, two of which were caused by Stoffel Vandoorne’s stationary McLaren. His car halted twice due to power shut-downs, once while it was in the pits, and also stopped on track with a loss of hydraulic pressure.

McLaren weren’t the only ones to hit trouble. Max Verstappen kept pace with Vettel and Bottas early in the day’s running but later came to a stop while performing an aerodynamic test in his Red Bull.

Toro Rosso ended last week’s test with the highest combined mileage of any team. But Pierre Gasly didn’t emerge from the pits in his Honda-powered car after the one-hour lunch break due to an unspecified problem. He did, however, set the fifth-fastest time of the day, and the quickest for Toro Rosso in testing so far.

Force India and Sauber also posted their best times of the test to date. Sergio Perez got his day off to a fairly slow start but had amassed 93 laps by the time the chequered flag fell.

Like Mercedes, Williams and Renault divided their running between both their race drivers, and managed combined totals in excess of 100 laps each.

Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLapsTyres
15Sebastian VettelFerrariSF71H1’20.396170Medium
277Valtteri BottasMercedesW091’20.5960.20086Soft
333Max VerstappenRed BullRB141’20.6490.253129Medium
444Lewis HamiltonMercedesW091’20.8080.41290Soft
510Pierre GaslyToro RossoSTR131’20.9730.57754Soft
620Kevin MagnussenHaasVF-181’21.2980.90295Soft
727Nico HulkenbergRenaultRS181’21.4321.03648Medium
855Carlos Sainz JnrRenaultRS181’21.4551.05991Soft
935Sergey SirotkinWilliamsFW411’21.5881.19242Soft
1011Sergio PerezForce IndiaVJM111’21.6431.24793Soft
119Marcus EricssonSauberC371’21.7061.310119Super-soft
122Stoffel VandoorneMcLarenMCL331’21.9461.55038Super-soft
1318Lance StrollWilliamsFW411’22.9372.54184Soft

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 39 comments on “Vettel quickest as Ferrari and Mercedes rack up miles”

    1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
      6th March 2018, 17:18

      Looks like McLaren should have kept Honda…

      1. Vettel fan 17
        I would not go that far, but I hope to be proved wrong here. I think they are in trouble. Literally all their runs they have done has been on the soft or super soft tyres? Why? Still, Torro rosso & Honda have not exactly ended the day any better, as they have not been on track for hours, and according to auto sport journalist there their car is in pieces.

        1. @bonbonjai STR’s problem today was with the brakes according to Autosport.

        2. According to Toro Rosso’s twitter it was a brake problem so not Honda related.

      2. Mclaren would not have fared any better with Honda. If you have seen the Grand Prix driver documentary, you can see the depth of relationship between Honda and Mclaren was virtually nil. They both operated very independently (no drawings being shared, virtually no Honda presence at the Mclaren factory). And if this was the situation in year 3, God knows how it was in the previous years. Mclaren was effectively only a customer of the Honda engine and not really a works team partner. And if you have to be a customer, might as well be one of Renault than of Honda. Toro Rosso is truly the first works team of Honda, I believe.

        1. That must have been a customer with a lot of wishes and design demands then ;)
          One of the problems was the size zero concept McL demanded form Honda.

          1. Yet all Honda had to do was say ‘no sorry we can’t do that’ but they ended up saying ‘yeah no problem we’ll be matching merc in no time’.

            The rest is history

          2. Just because ron dennis mentioned size zero couple of times in interviews doesn’t mean that was the issue. The only issue was that the honda engine was useless in every way.

          3. That’s true. McLaren were getting Honda to push the limits, and Honda failed miserably. Toro Rosso openly admitted last week that they are not putting any limitations on Honda regarding design or packaging. They’ll accept whatever Honda delivers to them. So far, it seems to be working out (at least reliability-wise) for Toro Rosso. Let’s wait till the season starts and see the performance of the Honda engine and the Toro Rosso chassis, before making any conclusions.

            1. @todfod – at least, we shouldn’t expect anything good from McLaren in the first several races. Only two weeks left until Australian GP, they won’t fix all the packaging issues they have now. PS: Yesterday, I read an interesting comment, “McLaren wasn’t a works team with Honda but rather a client team. They didn’t work as a whole”. That’s quite true, and it seems that Toro Rosso made correct decisions.

        2. Mclaren would not have fared any better with Honda

          That is the point right there. It is mclaren who Keep Screwing up for a solid 25 years. Doesn’t Really matter what engine is delivered to the MTC, they will manage to deliver some slow and/or unreliable dog of a car.

          1. If reports are accurate McLaren are having overheating problems and not just from the turbo/exhaust.
            Give the recent cold weather in Barca (including snow!) it’s hard to believe their simulations could be so far off the mark. Imagine what the temps in OZ will be like…

      3. It seems there was a reason that Mercedes didn’t want to supply McLaren with power units… and apparently it wasn’t because they considered Mercedes-powered McLarens a competitive threat. I sure hope McLaren can get their act together this season.

        1. It was probably because in 2014, McLaren openly stated that Mercedes weren’t giving customers the same hardware, software or substantial support. They probably didn’t want a repeat of any accusations from McLaren. Also guessing that McLaren are a more demanding customer than both Force India and Williams, so it would take more effort on the part of Mercedes to supply them.

        2. Of course they viewed mclaren as threat. Mclaren is one of the bigger teams in f1 and given a good engine they can beat mercedes as much as ferrari or redbull can with good engine.

    2. Anyone knows, jokes aside, why is Stroll so down in laptime?

      1. I’d simply blame it on an absence of short, (relatively) low-fuel runs. 1:21.9 is still 1.6 seconds faster than last year’s fastest lap in the race. If we take the resurfacing of the track into consideration, that’s a lap time that would be perfectly consistent with a race simulation.

        1. nase, sounds about right then – quite a few teams were reportedly running longer stints today to make up for the lack of running in the last test, so it would make sense if Williams were doing just that.

      2. He was on Hard tyres apparently…

        1. Lance Stroll used only Soft and Hypersoft tyres during the first day of the second test on Tuesday 06/03/18.

    3. Looks like 2018 is going to be exactly like 2017. Mercedes and Ferrari close, but Mercedes just that tiny bit faster. Red bull with no chance, but just fast enough to spoil about a third of the possible Ferrari vs Mercedes fights.

      1. Testing shows none of this. So far based just on 2018 testing nothing is clear. You may well be right but thats based purley on previous years results.

      2. I think we need to wait until they finish running at this track (i.e. May 13th) before trying to make such predictions.

    4. Ferrari will melt seeking that extra bit needed to stop Mercedes. Its obvious. Vettle is the new Alonso at Ferrari. As for RedBull old AliceD. pretty much rang the bell of truth. They will be playas but a win will only come from the misfortune of others.

      1. I just have to ask: Is there a nest somewhere around here?

    5. Mercedes comparing both their cars with technical analysis being done by their technical director James Allison.

      That’s confidence for you…

      Lets hope the get good run for their money this year.

    6. Just beat the damn 1:18.339 already!

    7. F1 Twitter account posted the speed trap of today testing. Not sure if this means anything, but Honda powered Toro Rosso is in third place (323.3 kph).


      1. Geez. Honda – STR third in speed traps…

        McRenault in the pits with cooling issues… At 9 degrees C… What is going on with McLaren, does not seem like they will bw reliable or competitive.

    8. Have a feeling that Toro Rosso-Honda will be fighting for 5th place this year.

    9. The times are still completely irrelevant at the moment. Only when they’ll start lapping around 1:18:5 or lower, the order will start to become somehow relevant regarding car capabilities.

      1. BTW, this time is 1.2sec faster than what Ferrari achieved last year with the Mediums, yet still 1.1sec slower than their best time with Softs. So, overall, so far things look quite the same at the top.

    10. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      6th March 2018, 23:30

      I haven’t really been paying attention to testing too much. Is HAAS really as fast as they seem, or is it just a product of testing circumstances?

    11. The Mclaren have some burn marks in the engine cover, you have to wonder if Mclaren is really taking it very risky in its cooling design? And does Mclaren designed the aero and chassis too tight for Honda last 3 years that restrict both the design and cooling of the engine and they are still doing the same to Renault.

      The burn marks is right on top of the supposed location of the Turbo, or maybe the intercooler. I’m not sure but they tried to play it down as “Minor”, but to put holes as a stop gap can’t be described as minor. In perspective, they have the smallest air intake by far, unlike the others that have a large intake that has 3 visible entry, Mclaren clearly show only one opening maybe just for the airbox/intercooler.

    12. Merc are fastest, Ferrari second, RBR a very close third.

      Then there’s Force India, Haas, Mclaren, Williams.

      Then STR, Renault, Sauber.

      It’s testing folks. The order hasn’t changed much. Just wait til the faster teams turn things up. That Honda is practically 2017 spec power-wise, don’t think there’s suddenly going to be a miracle. Sauber will spend half the season figuring out how to get the best from their car. Mclaren are just having awkward little niggles. There’s no major drama outside the usual testing of a rapidly changing prototype chassis.

      Mercedes are already working on recovering from sensor failures in race sims. That’s how comfortable they’re feeling.

      1. Mercedes are already working on recovering from sensor failures in race sims.

        That would almost demoralize the other teams! :-)

        That Honda is practically 2017 spec power-wise, don’t think there’s suddenly going to be a miracle.

        No, but if Honda have solved reliability, that in itself will be a good step forward for Toro Rosso, particularly given how their 2017 season ended.

      2. I’d replace Renault with Haas. Then you’ve probably got it right.

      3. @JC; I’m curious how you came up with that assessment? Did you look at longer runs? Looking at all the long runs from Tues 6th, Ferrari are clearly fastest, Merc and RedBull are struggling with tyre deg and Renault are best of the rest. regards, build.

        1. It’s testing, using different tyres, at different times of the day, on different fuel loads. You can’t read into race sims in testing, especially on a newly resurfaced track. Everyone will have made a reasonable leap forward from last season. The above is pretty much that.

          I do think a Ferrari or Red Bull will win in Australia though, simply due to the circuit characteristics. Or at least it’ll be closer than other circuits in the flyaway races.

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