Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Vettel leads Hamilton by 0.003s at end of testing

2019 F1 season

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The world championship rivals of the last two years were separated by just three-thousandths of a second as winter testing for the 2019 F1 season came to a close.

Sebastian Vettel set the quickest time of testing in his Ferrari with a lap of 1’16.221 on the final day. However rival Lewis Hamilton lapped just 0.003s slower during his afternoon run in the Mercedes W10.

With Vettel’s team mate Charles Leclerc having gone a hundredth of a second slower during yesterday’s test, there was little to separate the three fastest times from the eight days of running.

It wasn’t an entirely smooth day for Ferrari as an electrical problem forced them to end the final day of testing early in the afternoon. The Mercedes pair ended the day in second and third positions, Valtteri Bottas having set a best time of 1’16.561 in the morning session.

Nico Hulkenberg was fourth-fastest for Renault after again sharing the RS19 with team mate Daniel Ricciardo. The pair covered more than a hundred laps between them.

[smr0901]Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jnr did not improve on their morning lap times in the afternoon as they concentrate on accumulating mileage foro Toro Rosso and McLaren respectively.

After being held up by reliability problems yesterday, Haas covered a mammoth 167 laps on the final day. However Kevin Magnussen caused a late red flag when his car stopped at turn four.

It was a disappointing final day for Red Bull. Despite repairing the damage from Pierre Gasly’s crash yesterday in time for Max Verstappen to join the track within the first hour of testing, a gearbox problem limited him to just 29 laps.

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2019 pre-season test day eight lap times

Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLapsTyres
15Sebastian VettelFerrariSF901’16.221110C5
244Lewis HamiltonMercedesW101’16.2240.00361C5
377Valtteri BottasMercedesW101’16.5610.34071C5
427Nico HulkenbergRenaultRS191’16.8430.62251C5
526Daniil KvyatToro RossoSTR141’16.8980.677131C5
655Carlos Sainz JnrMcLarenMCL341’16.9130.692134C5
78Romain GrosjeanHaasVF-191’17.0760.85573C5
83Daniel RicciardoRenaultRS191’17.1140.89352C5
97Kimi RaikkonenAlfa RomeoC381’17.2391.018132C5
1020Kevin MagnussenHaasVF-191’17.5651.34494C5
1133Max VerstappenRed BullRB151’17.7091.48829C3
1211Sergio PerezRacing PointRP191’17.7911.570104C5
1388Robert KubicaWilliamsFW421’18.9932.77290C5

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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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  • 25 comments on “Vettel leads Hamilton by 0.003s at end of testing”

    1. The small gap between vettel and Hamilton is a spicy meatbol.

      1. Neither MB or Ferrari were driven in full qualifying/party mode. Much more performance to come.

      2. @ppzzus
        You comment reminded me Jim Carrey mimicking Robert de Niro.
        Nevertheless, assuming both times were set with conditions mimicking quali, 2019 F1 season is going to be spicy indeed.

    2. so much for a car thats off balance, that Merc seems quick.

    3. So about that half a second thing… Looking forward to Melbourne to see where everyone truly stands.

      1. the Ferrari car is 1/2 sec faster than Merc, but Lewis is 1/2sec faster driver than Vettel.

        1. That can only be true if Bottas is 0.2 second faster driver than Vettel.

          1. That’s baby’s play compared to how quick Hulk is, at least 1s faster than Vettel

          2. Sounds about right.

    4. That is the margin I expect. C’mon, Melbourne!

    5. The table is pretty much the pecking order I expect for this season

    6. I wonder if Ferrari would have gone quicker if they didn’t end their running early

    7. Hamilton/Mercedes’ best time is arguably the 1’16.6 on the C4 tyre today.

      1. And Verstappen’s 1’17.709 gears him up (pun intended) to slot in behind HAM/VET/LEC.

        1. I’d says LEC/HAM/VET/MAX. Seb best effort only one hundredth of a second faster than a non flat out Charles time. :p

          1. @ruliemaulana no, just no, you don’t know how much both were pushing,

        2. Not necessarily. Hulkenberg did a 1’17.603 on the C3 (see Motorsport/Autosport report at 15:10 and 15:11) and was only able to achieve 1’16.843 on the C5.

      2. Ferrari’s was a 1:16:7 on the c3… so it looks like advantage ferrari!

    8. Promising finally from Mercedes..sandbagging as usual.

    9. Justin (@boombazookajd)
      1st March 2019, 18:16

      Worth keeping in mind Vettel set his time in the morning, Hamilton in the afternoon so there’s a track temp/rubbered in variable to keep in mind.

      Definitely set for an exciting opener!

      1. Justin Spencer
        1st March 2019, 19:42

        This. From what I can tell, the track normally provides another 3 tenths in the afternoon.

        1. Instead it wasnt warm sunny afternoon. It was after 5pm means temp dropped.

      2. Hamilton did his time very late meaning temp have dropped alot while vettel did late morning better temp. Ham would be alot faster plus you falled for ham trick. He was controlling and not showing pace. He deliberately slowed in S1 & S2 and push S3 in very late time with temp droping

        1. @edti, was it necessarily a trick, or was it instead the case that Vettel and Hamilton approached the lap in different ways to best exploit the characteristics of their cars?

          The former tended to maximise the performance of his car in the first two sectors, where Ferrari have generally looked fairly strong throughout the tests and have generally tended to set quicker sector times, but perhaps pushed the tyres a little too hard and therefore slipped back in the final sector. The latter, meanwhile, might have focussed more on making up time in the final sector, where Mercedes have generally tended to be stronger.

          It is, after all, the exact same trend that we saw from Vettel and Hamilton in the 2018 Spanish GP if you look at the sector times from the race – Vettel was generally quicker in the first two sectors of the lap, but less competitive in the final sector, whilst Hamilton tended to be slower in the first two sectors and generally quicker than Vettel in the final sector.

          The 2019 cars for both teams are, to some extent, evolutions of the cars they used in 2018, so although they will not be exactly the same, they will potentially share some characteristics. I would not therefore be surprised if that trend you commented on is not “a trick”, but rather more reflective of a general trend in the handling characteristics of the cars that we have seen over the past few years.

    10. I’d counter that to say Vettel set his time when the track was at the optimum, at least temperature wise. Hamilton’s time was set when the track would have been cooler. So the conditions played a part in Vettel’s time, dont you think?

      I’m a ferrari fan but like to be realistic of our chances.

    Comments are closed.