After Carlos Sainz had set the pace on back-to-back days for McLaren, it was Charles Leclerc’s turn to light up the timing screens.
Ferrari changed their line up with Leclerc in the car all day, with Sebastian Vettel to test alone on Friday.
Leclerc wasn’t seen for the first 30 minutes, before he clocked his first time of the morning – a 1:19.19.
Lewis Hamilton put himself top of the timings after the first hour with a 1:18.097 – using the C2 compound. With that time set on the harder tyre, the official F1 website reported that could in effect be a 1:16 when you take the tyre compound delta into consideration.
It looks like that Mercedes does have some pace after all.
Renault revealed they would be focusing on short runs this morning on the C4 and C5 compounds – Nico Hulkenberg had the honours.
After Vettel’s adventures into the turn 3 barriers yesterday, rumours began to surface of a foreign object being the cause – with the German suffering ‘rim damage’ which caused his off.
— Planet F1 (@Planet_F1) February 27, 2019
Alexander Albon continued to impress in the Toro Rosso, moving into P2 early on, before becoming the first man into the one minute sixteen’s with a 1:16.981 to go P1 before improving further with a 1:16.882.
The morning was dominated by constant swapping at the business-end of the standings, with Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly and Nico Hulkenberg all enjoying time on the top spot before the Thai driver surpassed them all.
That theme continued as Charles Leclerc provided another glimpse of the SF90’s power, setting a 1:16.231 on the C5 tyre to take over as the pace-setter.
Williams enjoyed another reliable morning as George Russell completed 45 laps in the FW42 – achieving P9 in the morning standings.
Overall, it proved an uncharacteristically incident-free morning in Barcelona.
1. Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF90 1:16.231
2. Alexander Albon Toro Rosso STR14 1:16.882
3. Lando Norris McLaren MCL34 1:17:084
4. Pierre Gasly Red Bull RB15 1:17.091
5. Nico Hulkenberg Renault R.S.19 1:17.496
6. Lance Stroll Racing Point RP19 1:17.556
7. Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo C38 1:17.639
8. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W10 1:18.097
9. George Russell Williams FW42 1:18.130
10. Kevin Magnussen Haas VF-19 1:18.199