Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas drove the fastest lap of the Formula 1 tests in Barcelona on the third day in the morning because Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari had an engine problem.
Vettel had managed 40 laps when he stopped in turn 12 shortly after two and a half hours and highlighted the second red flag of the test.
The session was interrupted for 20 minutes as the affected SF1000 was covered with several blankets and transported back to the Ferrari garage, from which it would not emerge before the checkered flag.
Ferrari has confirmed it will install a replacement engine in Vettel’s car for the afternoon, while the engine that started the day will go to its Maranello base for analysis.
When this red flag was flying, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was the fastest with a C2 lap of 1: 17.636 minutes, but Bottas improved to 1: 16.863 seconds shortly after the green flag resumed – the fastest test lap at that point ,
He cut it to C4 in 1: 16.417 seconds before he made the softest connection – the C5 – with just under an hour remaining and recorded 1: 15.732 seconds.
Bottas’ lap was almost half a second faster than Vettel’s overall benchmark from the tests before the 2019 season and was only three tenths behind the lap record of the Mercedes driver from last year’s qualifying.
His lap coincided with Nicholas Latifis Williams, who came to a standstill on the start / finish straight, causing the third red flag of the test.
Like Vettel, Latifi did not return for the rest of the session. The pair ranked ninth and tenth.
The session resumed 50 minutes before the end, but Bottas’ time was not threatened and he properly paused for lunch as a pacemaker. Lewis Hamilton was supposed to drive the W11 in the afternoon.
Renault started the day with the fewest miles, but Esteban Ocon drove a healthy 76 laps in the morning.
He ended the session second with a time of 1.370 seconds ahead of Bottas on C4s and will now hand the car over to Daniel Ricciardo for the afternoon.
Racing Point’s Lance Stroll completed the top three and was two tenths slower than Ocon with the same tire and just one tenth ahead of AlphaTauris Daniil Kvyat, also on C4, which will be replaced by Pierre Gasly in the afternoon.
Verstappen spent the morning running on the harder tire compounds, finishing fifth, despite having a session high of 86 laps.
Carlos Sainz Jr.’s seventh fastest time also came on the C2, with the McLaren driver and his former Toro Rosso team-mate Verstappen by Antonio Giovinazzi separated from Alfa Romeo in sixth place.
Both Verstappen and Sainz are ready for the week, and their respective teammates Alexander Albon and Lando Norris will replace them in the afternoon.
Romain Grosjean, who will hand the Haas VF-20 to Kevin Magnussen for the final, was eighth and the only driver besides Vettel and Latifi who did not make it to the 50-lap mark.
Day three morning times
|3||Lance walk||Rennpunkt / Mercedes||1m17.338ss||1,606s||52|
|4||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri / Honda||1m17.427ss||1,695s||62|
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull / Honda||1m17.636ss||1,904s||86|
|6||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo / Ferrari||1m18.035ss||2.303s||65|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren / Renault||1m18.274ss||2,542s||76|
|8th||Romain Grosjean||Haas / Ferrari||1m18.380ss||2.648s||48|
|10||Nicholas Latifi||Williams / Mercedes||1m19.004ss||3,272s||44|
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