Close one! Hamilton’s near miss with Kubica…

Date published: February 21 2019

Lewis Hamilton: Near miss with Robert Kubica

The final day of the first test started with a familiar incident…and a very familiar team in Mercedes beginning to show signs of waking up – but it could have been oh so different.

Here is how day four unfolded…but first, a reminder of the day’s runners and riders.

And, after only hitting the track for the first time in the afternoon of Day Three, Williams were straight out of the blocks on Thursday morning…

It took just 15 minutes for the first red flags of the day to start waving, with McLaren’s Lando Norris caught out on a cold track with cold tyres.

Kimi Raikkonen and Alexander Albon send their sympathies. The same early incident has happened to them too over the course of the week.

There was only a brief pause in the on-track action, with teams able to crack on with some early aero tests.

Those rakes really make the cars so fetching, don’t they?

After a quiet first hour from Mercedes, the Silver Arrows began to show power and performance after solely focusing on reliability over the first three days.

Their best time heading into day four was a 1:19.535 on the C3 compound. Lewis Hamilton, on morning duty, whittled that down to 1:18.518 on the harder C2 tyre just as the halfway point of the morning session approached.

And those lap times from Hamilton continued to tumble as he began to experiment with some of the softer tyres on offer.

The Brit was down to a 1:17.977 on the C4 compound, but Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo then got in on the act, pipping Hamilton  by 0.064 seconds on the same soft tyre.

Elsewhere on track in the morning session, there were little spins for Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and Robert Kubica in the Williams.

The Pole was soon back up and running…

Although he could have easily been on the sidelines had Hamilton not take evasive action on one of his hot laps.

The lap times, meanwhile, continued to tumble, with Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon setting the new quickest time we have seen so far to put him top at the lunch break.

With his headrest issues a thing of the past, Kevin Magnussen was back in the Haas VF-19 for the final session of the week.

Antonio Giovinazzi put in the laps for Alfa Romeo, having admitted he is “more ready” for F1 today than he was two years ago. He brought out the day’s final red as his C38 broke down with five minutes remaining.

Antonio Giovinazzi 'more ready than back in 2016 or 2017'

With 90 minutes of play remaining on Thursday, Hulkenberg went quickest with a 1:17.393.

And then he stopped out on track!

Charles Leclerc completed a massive 138 laps in the SF90 but even that didn’t lead the list with Giovinazzi doing over 150.

The day’s times…

 

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