Alexander Albon, Toro Rosso, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Leclerc keeps Ferrari ahead as Albon spins

2019 F1 season

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Ferrari remained at the head of the time as testing stopped for a one-hour lunch break on day two at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Charles Leclerc, who has taken over from team mate Sebastian Vettel at the wheel of the SF90, got within a tenth of a second of his team mate’s best time from yesterday.

A late improvement by Kevin Magnussen meant Ferrari-powered cars swept the top three places during the first four hours of running. The Haas driver was the only one to get within a second of Leclerc, edging Antonio Giovinazzi by less than a tenth of a second. The Alfa Romeo driver had a trip through the gravel trap at turn 12 when he got too close to the back of Pierre Gasly’s Red Bull.

Lando Norris followed closely behind the two Ferrari customers in his McLaren MCL34. For the second day running McLaren were the first team to hit the track as soon as the track opened.

Out of the nine cars which ran – Williams still being confined to their garage – Renault covered the fewest laps after Daniel Ricciardo suffered a dramatic rear wing failure. The rear flap on his RS19 came off on the main straight and Ricciardo spun when he reached turn one, fortunately without hitting anything.

The day began badly for Alexander Albon who suffered a spin in his Toro Rosso during his first lap. That forced the session to be red-flagged within moments of it starting.

Team principal Franz Tost blamed the spin on steering wheel setting the team had changed overnight. Albon had another quick spin on the approach to turn 10 later in the session, but was able to continue.

Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLaps
116Charles LeclercFerrariSF901’18.24773
220Kevin MagnussenHaasVF-191’19.2340.98733
399Antonio GiovinazziAlfa RomeoC381’19.3121.06562
44Lando NorrisMcLarenMCL341’19.4891.24253
510Pierre GaslyRed BullRB151’19.8141.56769
63Daniel RicciardoRenaultRS191’19.8861.63928
744Lewis HamiltonMercedesW101’19.9281.68174
823Alexander AlbonToro RossoSTR141’20.0461.79961
918Lance StrollRacing PointRP191’20.4332.18645

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2019 F1 season

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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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36 comments on “Leclerc keeps Ferrari ahead as Albon spins”

  1. Hi Keith,

    Any chance we can have the compound used for the best time in the table? Cheers.

    1. Most of them on C3, except Norris (C2) and Giovinazzi (C4). Leclerc’s 1:18.9 was also set on C2, then improved to 1:18.2 on a C3-compound, though I don’t know why Keith didn’t include it.

  2. Another solid morning’s work from Marlboro Winnow.

    1. Yes, “We-know” ;)

      1. The puns just write themselves. I know @jimmi-cynic will have a field day with these names this season.

        1. Surprised that Ferrari don’t run with Marlboro branding in testing. Is there something in the rules that prevents it? Is this classified as something other than ‘private testing’?

          1. @skylab – these are tests run under the aegis of the FIA & FOM, so I’m sure they cannot run prohibited branding. Maybe when plugging around Fiorano they could use custom branding, unless the FIA/FOM contract itself prohibits even that.

          2. @skylab
            Advertising tobacco is forbidden by law in Spain, so no Marlboro branding on a Ferrari in Barcelona under any circumstances. The same applies to Italy, so Marlboro branding on a Ferrari in Fiorano, either (@phylyp). Additionally, Italian law forbids any publicity of the sponsorship by the tobacco industry (being sponsored by the tobacco industry does not, per se, go against the law). Therefore, a Ferrari running a Marlboro livery anywhere on the world would spell mean trouble at home.

            To my knowledge, only [strikethrough]Sauber[/strikethrough] Alfa Romeo would theoretically be allowed to advertise tobacco on their cars in countries where this isn’t illegal, as Switzerland didn’t ratify the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and apparently has no laws against tobacco ads. However, there probably exist regulatory mechanisms within F1 that prevent this from happening.

  3. I know it’s early days, but something seems off in the Mercedes camp. I think they have created a beast of a car and now finding it hard to tame it in time for the show. I could be wrong.

    That being said: they have the best tamer on the show.

    1. they have the best tamer on the show.

      Well said – their in-season development is formidable – in ironing out glitches and errors in the car’s design. @lums

      Having said that, Merc have tended to focus heavily on high-fuel long-run pace, haven’t they? And Bottas in particular tends to be weak with a heavily-fuelled car, so his runs might be geared towards improving himself in that state.

    2. @lums Indeed, and every year everybody is a massive threat according to Toto but come race day they suddenly have a massive advantage.

    3. @lums Mercedes doesn’t care about lap times. Last year they were only the 7th fastest team across all testing

      1. But you could read into their teams based on the tyres they used and consistency on long runs, so far they actually look slower for the first time in years. It could change at anytime though. Most telling was bottas and hamilton’s reaction yesterday, they said the car was different to last year and they need to learn the car, gather data and analyse, while vettel said he was expecting to be rusty after a long time not driving, but the car made it easier for him, and he was completely delighted.

        1. *their times

          1. As the dominators of the hybrid era, including winning both titles again last year, I’m going by the assumption for now that Merc has much more to show us, and will be racing for the titles again this season. They’ve not chased pace in testing in the past, so I am still considering them the benchmark and the ones to beat. And if someone does, it is going to take the whole season to do so.

    4. I’m sure they’re sandbagging, they’re good at that, but I hope their car is a dog.

  4. @keithcollantine
    I’ve repeatedly seen a 1’18.982 as Charles Leclerc’s best lap time on this site (twice in the “Live” section and now in this article), but according to all other sources I’ve consulted, including the official test timing screen, his best lap time was really a 1’18.247.
    The repetition sort of rules out a mere typo, so whence does this difference arise?

    1. It’s wrong cos leclerc did other laps between 1,18.3 and 1,18.5

  5. Interesting testing pattern there at Ferrari. They always do 5 consecutive fast laps with open DRS, then do 3-5 laps with closed DRS and finish it with 2 laps driving around the circuit at constant speed.

  6. All 3 ferrari powered teams look quick on the c2 tyres (medium) as does mclaren, with main ferrari 1 second quicker. Who knows what Mercedes is doing, but the times of the ferrari teams compared to this time last year on mediums (and m claren) show an improvement even taking into account the lost downforce of the new wings. Ferrari has improved year on year catching Mercedes, I think they made the needed step again this year to finally be better than Mercedes. Everyone knows it’s testing, but we can still make analysis with lap times, tyres and stint lengths. those analysis were mostly correct last year too.

    1. I love your last sentence kpcart. Can tell this ain’t your first rodeo…

      Classic testing conversation:

      Forum user 1 “I know it’s only testing but team X look good/bad”

      Forum user 2 “It’s only testing. We don’t know anything”

      1. I’ve followed 25 years. Going by this test ‘so far’ ferrari is favourite ahead of Mercedes for the first time in this era… But that is only after 1.5 days, my view may change over the next 6 days, but not too likely going by previous data. If I was a betting man (a gambler) I’d put some money on ferrari this year, but I don’t gamble, so over to you (and everyone else!)

        1. ie, load up previous Internet commentary in 2009, everyone thinks Brawn was show boating in testing and others sand bagging…. This seems a bit like that this year with ferrari, they got the front wing right… Now Mercedes will have to copy and hope it doesn’t affect the rest of their car

    2. those analysis were mostly correct last year too.

      The way I remember it, 99% of those analyses were rubbish lacking any predictive value exceeding that of an educated guess based on the previous year’s standings. 1% of those analyses managed to represent the relative competitiveness of more than a few teams somewhat faithfully. But there was no reliable way to tell those 1% apart from most of the 99%. In other words, they were probably just successful lucky guesses, not much more.

  7. Looks like its going to be an exciting and close F1.5 battle again this year, with Alfa, HAAS, McLaren, Renault and Perez fighting for 4th in the Championship.

    1. I’m hoping hass and alfa with ferrari power battle Red bull with Honda power for 3rd. Going by times so far, if you only judge it that way, this might be likely. I think the Renault powered teams will have similar power to honda

  8. Stroll already getting used to placing a well performing car dead last

    1. So far he is doing way better than had he stayed at Williams.

      1. Because the car allows it, doesn’t change who he is as a driver

        1. But who is he as a driver? We’ve only seen him in rubbish cars, and one of his two seasons so far was as a rookie. This season should prove to be a much better test of what Stroll can really do. Many have already written him off, but guess what…we have no choice and we’ll be ‘Forced’ to see him over the season prove his critics wrong (or right). One thing that nobody can deny…the car is at least 80% of it.

          1. I was just joking in my comentary, but I agree with you. Even though for many reasons that would be boring to state here I’ve been so far a critic of his abilities, this year will truly unmask the mistery if Stroll is really a good driver that deserves to be in F1, or if he is where he is due to his possibilities.

  9. Am I commenting on the wrong article or did I indeed read that driver A spun out because he got too close behind driver B, an indicator of the improvement these new wings have made for the following car?

    1. Also noticed this.

  10. For the record, Stroll is at the bottom.

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