Kubica is P1, tester beats most of the 2020 field

Michelle Foster
Robert Kubica-Alfa-Romeo1


18 of the 20 2020 Formula 1 drivers were in action in Spain on Wednesday but it was Alfa Romeo’s test driver Robert Kubica who claimed the day’s P1.

The Formula 1 teams returned to Circuit de Catalunya on Wednesday for the beginning of the second pre-season test.

Alfa Romeo handed Wednesday morning’s driving duties over to reserve driver Kubica, who laid down 53 laps.

His fastest lap time, set on the C5 tyres, was a 1:16.942.

But while that was by no means close to the 1:15.7 Valtteri Bottas set last Friday, it remained the time to beat for the day through to the chequered flag.

So far only Alfa Romeo and Mercedes have topped the timesheets in testing.

Max Verstappen, replacing Alexander Albon for the afternoon session, put in a late run on the C4 tyres to jump up to second place.

The Red Bull driver was 0.405s off the pace.

His day, though, was not without a trouble or two as he had a massive moment out of Turn 6 with his RB16 fishtailing and kicking up dust.

Verstappen managed to bring the car under control and avoid disaster.

However, he wasn’t as fortunate on his next spin.

The Dutchman brought out a late red flag when he spun on the way into Turn 10 with just minutes remaining in the session.

Daniil Kvyat in the other Honda-powered car, the AlphaTauri, stopped at the same time.

Sergio Perez was third in the ‘pink Mercedes’ while Kvyat claimed fourth place, 0.09s ahead of Pierre Gasly.

Albon, who was kept in the garage for a while in the morning due to a PU issue, finished the day with the sixth best time ahead of Lewis Hamilton, once again running Mercedes’ latest innovation, DAS, and Lance Stroll.

Valtteri Bottas, who drove the Mercedes in the afternoon session, was P9, half a second down on his team-mate’s best.

Another of Hamilton’s main rivals for the 2020 title, Sebastian Vettel, again ran into trouble as he got it very wrong at Turn 8.

The German brought out the red flags in the morning’s session when he slid his way through the gravel before beaching the SF1000.

Vettel was given a lift back to the pits and had to settle for P10 on the day’s log. He was 0.551s slower than Hamilton and over a second shy of Kubica’s best.

Daniel Ricciardo was just outside the top ten in 11th while Nicholas Latifi was another to see red.

The Williams rookie stopped out on track on the run up to Turn 9.

Once the car was back in the garage, Williams put up screens as they stripped the FW43 down to find the cause of the problem.

Many of the drivers trialled Pirelli’s development Zandvoort tyres on Thursday.

Pirelli had asked the teams to test its special Zandvoort prototype front tyre, which the tyre manufacturer has designed to cope with the banking at the Dutch GP circuit.

1 Kubica Alfa Romeo 1m16.942s
2 Verstappen Red Bull 1m17.347s
3 Perez Racing Point 1m17.428s
4 Kvyat AlphaTauri 1m17.456s
5 Gasly AlphaTauri 1m17.540s
6 Albon Red Bull 1m17.550s
7 Hamilton Mercedes 1m17.562s
8 Stroll Racing Point 1m17.787s
9 Bottas Mercedes 1m18.100s
10 Vettel Ferrari 1m18.113s
11 Ricciardo Renault 1m18.214s
12 Sainz McLaren 1m18.221s
13 Leclerc Ferrari 1m18.244s
14 Latifi Williams 1m18.300s
15 Russell Williams 1m18.535s
16 Grosjean Haas 1m18.670s
17 Norris McLaren 1m18.826s
18 Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1m19.820s
19 Ocon Renault 1m21.542s

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