Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Hulkenberg’s Renault fastest at end of first test

2019 F1 season

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The first test for the 2019 F1 season ended with Nico Hulkenberg on top of the times for Renault and team mate Daniel Ricciardo third-fastest.

Hulkenberg’s lap of 1’17.393 stands as the best time of the test, and was set after Renault corrected a problem with their car’s Drag Reduction System which caused a high-speed spin for Ricciardo earlier in the week.

The two RS19s were split at the top of the times by Alexander Albon of yesterday’s pace-setters Toro Rosso.

Mercedes also revealed more of their pace on the fourth day of testing. First Lewis Hamilton, then Valtteri Bottas lowered their best time of the week so far, the later ending the day on a 1’17.857.

Ferrari did not manage to break the 78-second barrier but Charles Leclerc completed 138 laps. He had a brief run through a gravel trap at turn four early in the day.

Lando Norris, seventh-quickest, came to a rest at the same point on the track shortly after the test began. That caused the first of four red flags, though he still completed the equivalent of two races distances in his McLaren.

Hulkenberg caused the second of the day’s red flags shortly after setting his quickest lap time. The other two came within quick succession of each other at the end of the day, as Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo halted running once with eight minutes to go and then again for good a few minutes later.

Williams put 65 laps on their FW42 in their first full day of testing. Robert Kubica drove the car in the morning, becoming the last of this year’s race drivers to sample his new machine.

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2019 pre-season test day four lap times

Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLapsTyres
127Nico HulkenbergRenaultRS191’17.39324C5
223Alexander AlbonToro RossoSTR141’17.6370.244136C5
33Daniel RicciardoRenaultRS191’17.7850.39234C5
477Valtteri BottasMercedesW101’17.8570.46457C5
544Lewis HamiltonMercedesW101’17.9770.58458C4
616Charles LeclercFerrariSF901’18.0460.653138C3
74Lando NorrisMcLarenMCL341’18.4311.038132C4
899Antonio GiovinazziAlfa RomeoC381’18.5111.118154C3
98Romain GrosjeanHaasVF-191’18.5631.17064C3
1020Kevin MagnussenHaasVF-191’18.7201.32766C3
1110Pierre GaslyRed BullRB151’18.7801.387146C3
1218Lance StrollRacing PointRP191’19.6642.27172C2
1363George RussellWilliamsFW421’20.9973.60417C3
1488Robert KubicaWilliamsFW421’21.5424.14948C2

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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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11 comments on “Hulkenberg’s Renault fastest at end of first test”

  1. Less than three tenths to go anymore.

    1. All are already quicker compared to (snowy) week 1 last year.
      Team…………..’19 (time/tyre)..’18 (time/tyre)
      Toro Rosso——1’17.637–c5—-1’21.318–Soft
      Sauber Romeo-1’17.762–c5—-1’22.721–Soft
      Red Bull———1’18.780–c3—-1’20.179–Medium
      Force Point——1’19.664–c2—-1’21.841–Soft

  2. I had earlier today compared the combined fastest times of this Winter Test 1 to the combined fastest times of 1st test from 2018 and all cars were quicker, even Williams was slightly quicker. It’s true that most are not yet as fast as the last year 2nd test (that had the overall the fastest times) but they should make similar gains next week.
    I’ll wait for the lap time watch article to list those differences (2019 Test 1 VS 2018 Test 1).

    Also of note, many people mention that Mercedes are “always slow” in tests but they had the fastest time of 2018 Test 1. If I remember correctly that was the case as well in previous years (even though they were not that much faster than everyone else, and come the races show a quicker pace, they were fast nonetheless).
    So I do think that Mercedes are not as fast as before … yet! The yet remark is very important although I truly hope that when the races start they are still not as fast as before…

  3. Williams doesn’t look all that bad. Their high 1:20s are pretty close to what renault achieved on their first day of testing and I don’t think anybody is expecting williams to match renault. The next test days will surely reveal more about whether all this doom and gloom about couple of missed test days holds any meaning or not.

    1. @socksolid, it is not necessarily just the fact that they have missed that deadline, but the fact that it seems to point to a wider malaise within the team if, as Dieter Rencken states, the team were already running behind schedule more than three months ago.

      The suggestions that Williams were late in delivering the final designs of a number of components to the workshops and their suppliers is potentially not a good sign either. That could suggest that the development programme for the car was not as smooth as they might have hoped for, which may in turn be impacting their development and production programme for the early part of the season – so, even if they have got over some of their problems now, it is likely to have a knock on effect for some time to come.

      Furthermore, even though the car is capable of running, Kubica and Russell have both confirmed that the car is still missing some components and therefore they will not be able to do their full suite of set up and testing work until the next test session. It therefore means that, even though the car is running, most of the work that they would have hoped to do over the two test sessions now somehow has to be done within one test.

      Now, it is easy to be more pessimistic about the team than it is to be positive, that is true – even so, overall the situation does point towards what is likely to be a weaker start to the season than Williams are likely to have wanted.

  4. We will know very soon. If Mercedes get Ferrari or Alfa Romeo type front wing for next week test, then its sure that their solution is not working.
    Only top team like Ferrari/Mercedes/RBR have huge resources to get new design so far early.

    1. @nin13 I don’t think it’s as easy as that. Mercedes’ whole car is optimized for their current front wing, so at a minimum, the start of the European leg of the championship is where you might realistically expect Mercedes to change front-wing philosophies, if they do.

  5. Me think… Toro Rosso’s engine is tuned to more performance than RB, when it blows at least they know where the limit is. Coldfly like “Sauber Romeo”.

    1. Me think… Toro Rosso’s engine is tuned to more performance than RB, when it blows at least they know where the limit is.

      @dutchtreat – as much as Franz might deny it, that makes a lot of sense and is likely something Dr. Marko might be enforcing.

  6. The problem with comparing laptimes from last year is the weather. It was ridiculously cold last year, they couldn’t even heat the tyres up. And this week it’s been very nice and warm, around 20 degrees early on the afternoon. I’m living here now and I was visiting Barcelona last year during the first week (I went to the track one day), it’s incredible to think that the same month a year appart had this much difference in weather. I’m sure a whole bunch of tenths can be found in the weather alone…

    1. Really good point, although the comparison agains race times is more valid.

      Still at a point though where lap times probably aren’t really worth worrying about. Next test will be a bit more indicative.

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