Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Yas Marina

Leclerc ends 2018 F1 testing on top for Ferrari

2018 F1 season

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Ferrari’s new driver Charles Leclerc ended 2018 on top of the testing times at Abu Dhabi.

Leclerc kept Ferrari on top for the second day in a row after his new team mate Sebastian Vettel led the times yesterday.

Drivers concluded two days of running on Pirelli’s new tyre selection for 2019 – which is numbered one, two, three, four and five – and its 2018 compounds for reference. Leclerc ended the test with the quickest time overall, three-tenths quicker than Vettel managed yesterday.

Pierre Gasly was second-fastest on his first run for Red Bull since replacing Daniel Ricciardo. Lance Stroll spent a full day driving for Force India, who are expected to formally confirm him as Sergio Perez’s team mate for next season.

Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat returned to the team for the first time since being cut from their line-up last season.

Haas ran test driver Louis Deletraz, who had a spin early in the session without hitting anything.

Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLapsTyres
116Charles LeclercFerrariSF71H1’36.4501352019 compound 5
210Pierre GaslyRed BullRB141’37.9161.4661292019 compound 5
318Lance StrollForce IndiaVJM111’38.0441.5941222018 hyper-soft
477Valtteri BottasMercedesW091’38.4481.9981432019 compound 5
555Carlos Sainz JnrMcLarenMCL331’38.5472.0971502019 compound 5
646Artem MarkelovRenaultRS181’38.5902.1401292018 hyper-soft
763George RussellWilliamsFW411’38.8022.352552018 hyper-soft
826Daniil KvyatToro RossoSTR131’38.8622.4121552019 compound 5
950Louis DeletrazHaasVF-181’39.0692.6191172019 compound 5
1036Antonio GiovinazziSauberC371’40.4353.9851282019 compound 5
1140Robert KubicaWilliamsFW411’44.2087.758392019 compound 5

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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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46 comments on “Leclerc ends 2018 F1 testing on top for Ferrari”

  1. Any comments on Kubica?

    1. Yesterday looked nice but today he is way off pace. Guess it wasn’t a trouble-free session or he was not chasing fastest lap times…

    2. @alfa145

      Could just be full fuel load testing. He’s been faster than Stroll and Sirotkin in practice sessions last year, so I highly doubt he’s suddenly lost 5 seconds on Russell.

      1. Yes, of course, I should have worded my question better. I meant “any informed comment on Kubica” either by anyone being there or giving a bit of context

      2. @todfod faster than them in all practice sessions… apart from Spain, Austria and Abu Dhabi which I believe were the only ones he drove in?

      3. He was 1.5 slower than Stroll in FP1 Abu Dhabi.

    3. This time sheet is wrong. See F1 official website. He did 1:40.265. Still off, but not that much. Reasonable for testing.

      1. That time is right according to Autosport and also according to them he wasn’t chasing times which explains the gap to the top. It’s testing, lap times mean absolutely nothing.

        1. Apparently there is confusion who was driving the Williams car between 11:20 till 11:40. It was supposed to be Russel, but in fact it was Kubica. Look at the lap qty:


          Russel – 55 laps
          Kubica – 39 laps

          Official F1, Soymotor, Kubica fan blogs:

          Russel – 38 laps
          Kubica – 56 laps

          I trust for that matter…

  2. It will be a tragedy if Ferrari stifle Leclerc

    1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      28th November 2018, 16:01

      I don’t see how Ferrari can hold back Leclerc. If he delivers in the first part of the season, I think Ferrari throws their weight behind him. I know Sebastien is considered the leader at Ferrari, but Leclerc is an academy driver, if only for 3 years. I think Ferrari would love to see one of their “own” take a championship. I don’t think they have any ill-feelings towards Sebastien, but I can also see “he’s had 4 years here and hasn’t gotten it done” might be end up sitting in the back of their minds.

      That said, it’s only post-season testing. It’s probably a good idea to wait until P3 at the 2019 Australian GP before we start comparing Seb & Charles.

      1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
        28th November 2018, 16:03

        but I can see “he’s had 4 years here and hasn’t gotten it done” may end up sitting in the back of their minds.

        Let’s try that again.. :|

      2. It is going to be very interesting next year at Ferrari, they have two incredibly talented drivers.

        If they let them race, I guess that the edge will be given by psychological form. Vettel should have an edge on that because of experience, but on the other side, Leclerc has shown incredible calm, control and precision while racing.

        I’m really looking forward to 2019.

    2. They won’t, well i hope not. Seeing he’s had the experience this year, he should be up matching and even beating Vettel. If he (Leclerc) doesn’t, he wont last long in that seat. Cant wait for 2019 already

      1. @johns23

        he should be up matching and even beating Vettel. If he (Leclerc) doesn’t, he wont last long in that seat.

        You mean like Massa and Raikkonen didn’t?

  3. I remember how in 2013, Ricciardo jumped into the Red Bull from the Toro Rosso for the Young Driver’s test, and was able to match and better Vettel’s times. Could this be another case of that? There certainly is more hype about Leclerc than Ricciardo.

    1. Leclerc did some confidence buildup. Looks good, let us hope he is up to this Ferrari experiment and give us some battles on the track.

  4. Very clear now why Vettel wanted Kimi to stay. #slowKimi was no threat to Vettel dominance in the team. I predict a very unstable Vettel in 2019. We all have seen he can not handle pressure and when the pressure come from your (much younger) teammate, it is even worse, because you can not blame the equipment.

    Kimi out, Leclerc in was the best decision Ferrari F1 made in 2018.

    1. @svianna

      Let’s see how it pans out next year for them. As you mentioned, it might not be the best thing for Vettel to have additional pressure from his teammate. While I’m pleased with Ferrari’s decision to draft Leclerc, let’s see how they manage the driver situation before making any conclusions. They could also pull off a McLaren 2007 next season… so let’s wait.

      1. Let’s hope in that regard that Ferrari is not trying to pursue McLaren confidential data, that would be ill-advised. :)

    2. Why don’t we have some patience? Charles was great in Sauber but Vettel and Ferrari are a different beast. Tests don’t say anything. Let’s see what happens in Melbourne and then he shall see the real comparison between the two.

      1. @panagiotism-papatheodorou There is little we can do now, before winter testing starts, but, if I were Seb, I would be worried to be exposed like @ RBR in 2014, when RIC ended up the season 71 points ahead of the great (at that time) 4-times World Champion. 71 points…enough said…he won’t be able to hide anymore….

        1. We need to take into account though the several reliability issues Seb faces that year as well. Ricciardo would have beaten him in indeed but I think it was a very unique season for him.

          1. @panagiotism-papatheodorou

            We need to also take in that Ricciardo’s podium in Australia was disqualified through no fault of his own.

            Both the Red Bulls had reliability issues that year, but maybe Vettel lost 12 to 15 points more because of it. The beating he got was very apparent regardless of reliability, luck or anything else.

          2. @todfod Lol, not this again. Yes let’s boil it down to 12 to 15 points that SV lost more, and put the rest on the brilliant DR. The same DR who then lost to Kvyat in 2015. Yes suddenly in the off-season SV forgot how to win races and Championships, as in 4 in a row, and suddenly DR became a 4 time Champion beater. Couldn’t possibly be anything to do with the car or the new regs or anything else on the human side.

            The fact is that SV had his winning car ripped away from him that had just won him his fourth Championship and was some 240 points ahead in the WCC, to then have a car that was nearly 300 points down in the WCC to newly dominant Mercedes at the start of the hybrid era. And SV’s dejection at this was palatable from the get go. He would have known immediately that he was not even going to come close to defending his Championship(s). SV would have been devastated at how the regs, as has been done before, were changed to upset the usual and predictable order of things when a team has dominated too long, and indeed actually did upset the apple cart at RBR. It was now a completely different and unrecognizable car for him.

            So we had a DR that was stoked to be on the best team he had ever been on, having not felt what the 2013 car was like, and an SV that was totally defected. Again I ask how it is suddenly SV forgot how to win races and Championships, and how DR suddenly became a Champion beater, without looking at the extenuating circumstances.

            As soon as DR then had to back up his 2014 ‘domination’ on the team with newbie Kvyat, who would have been stoked at the opportunity of a lifetime for him, Kvyat ends up beating him. Now the pressure was on DR with little pressure on Kvyat, and DR found it was not so easy.

            For 2019 SV will not likely be in a car that will have him feeling dejected as being only a shadow of it’s former WCC level self. Leclerc will indeed be in a no pressure situation other than the pressure of being at Ferrari and the pressure he will put on himself. It will be akin to DR in 2014 and Kvyat in 2015 (and many other examples in F1’s history) where the newbie is only expected to do his best and learn, and anything else is gravy.

            It’s going to be great to watch, and I hope both SV and CL can start displacing the two Mercs more often and take the crown away from them. I predict wherever they stand vs Merc it will be SV leading the way on the team, as CL is the one with everything to prove, but how great it will be for F1 if he can impress us and be in the mix, which I think is likely. The car should be pretty good. But there is no comparison here to be made to RBR/2014, at least not for SV.

          3. Guybrush Threepwood
            1st December 2018, 8:57

            I think from memory Ricciardo actually had more race ending reliability issues, or the same, as Seb. It certainly was a lot closer than the 71 (?) points suggest though.

            I wonder what excuses will be pulled out if Seb gets beaten next year as I don’t think he’ll be moving to another team in 2020.

    3. Toys… Thrown out of… Pram… Must… Resist…

  5. All new drivers for the teams, except for Bottas.
    I guess Ocon had an appointment elsewhere ;)

  6. Well well Well!
    Young Charles didn’t disappoint then?
    Cue the excuse for SeeBahsem! His car had some damaged parts? OK!

    I rest my prediction for 2019.
    SeeBashem will spit his dummy right out & retire his broken ego, before 2019 season is even finished.

    1. “SeeBashem”? From, Sebastien? I honestly don’t get it.

      I wish people wouldn’t try to come up with these kind of attempts at humorous insults.

      1. Ah… Bashem, bash them? As in, he crashes into people?


        1. Or perhaps Crashttel.

  7. I can’t wait till young guns show old uns the way to do it. Except LS but that will be the car not him. Haa Haa.

  8. Why did Stroll run the Hypers both days? He looks like the only one that did.

    1. You say that like it was his decision.

      1. Jesus. Slow your roll. I just thought someone would have an explanation. It’s not an indictment or Stroll.

      2. @robbie

        It was his dad’s decision.

        Just kidding.. couldn’t resist.

        1. Brilliant man

  9. I know it’s only testing, but those results will be giving Seb something to mull over this Christmas… Stroll is layin’ down a marker! He may be the man to beat in 2019 ;-)

  10. I can imagine Leclerc lapping with a huge smile on his face, Gasly being delighted at how awesome his new car is, Stroll getting all excited about having a Force India…

    …and Sainz crying in his new McLaren.

  11. Wow, it is clearly next year it would be internal war Leclerc vs Vettel as Ferrari domination era begins. Year 2016 teammate rivalry once again? Haha.

  12. I think people are looking too much into the times in this test. Remember everyone is on different programs developing the car next year. Let’s wait and see guys.

  13. LEclerec a bit faster then Vettel (-0.4) 1.36,4 vs 1.36,8 funny part Vettel on Hyper and Leclerc comp 5

    The Redbull guys same times but Max on US and Piere on comp 5

    com 5 is a hybride hyper/US tyre?

  14. We have seen that practise and testing doesn’t tell us much. Next year new cars, new engines, new aerodynamics and actual racing. Let us hope it will be an exciting new season.

Comments are closed.