Hamilton hots up; McLaren breaks down

Date published: March 7 2018

The lap times are continuing to tumble at the Circuit de Catalunya as Lewis Hamilton becomes the first driver to drop into the 1.18s region.

But first there was news of a driver change at Ferrari, with Kimi Raikkonen feeling under the weather.

Fernando Alonso was one of the first drivers to emerge from the garage, looking to atone for a dreadful day on Tuesday for McLaren as they suffered multiple breakdowns.

The Spaniard was the early pace-setter and one of seven drivers who had improved on their pre-season personal bests within the first couple of hours of the morning session.

The others? Ricciardo, Sainz, Grosjean, Ocon, Hartley and Leclerc.

Ocon then raised a false alarm after he set the fastest time of testing so far with a 1:19.067 on soft tyres…only for it to be deleted as he exceeed track limits.

Then Hamilton suddenly sparked into life, setting three quick laps on the bounce – a 1:19.125, a 1:18.945 and a 1:18.317 – all on medium tyres. But, like Ocon, the latter time was wiped away after he too exceeded track limits.

But, clearly, things were going too well for McLaren…

After a brief red flag delay, Hamilton switched to the supersoft tyres and found an extra couple of tenths soon after, improving to a 1:18.752.

Hamilton continued to send the lap times tumbling, but a new personal best of 1:18.400 was beaten by Daniel Ricciardo, who lowered the benchmark to 1:18.047, just before the unofficial lunch break.

It was a non-official lunch break for all the teams…

Brendon Hartley tested the track limits but he wasn’t the only driver using every available inch of the Circuit de Catalunya.

A lock up for Lance Stroll…

Sebastian Vettel was in action in the morning before handing the SF71H over to Kimi Raikkonen for the afternoon.

Charles Leclerc laid down the laps for Sauber.

Kimi Raikkonen replaced Vettel in the afternoon having been unwell in the morning.

Sergey Sirotkin was given a push back to the Williams garage after running into trouble in pitlane.

And Daniel Ricciardo’s finished fastest of all.