Vettel blitzes 2018’s Day 1 time in testing

Sebastian Vettel blitzes last year's Day 1 time

Sebastian Vettel blitzes last year's Day 1 time

Sebastian Vettel wasn’t hanging around as pre-season testing began in Spain, clocking a 1:18.161 to go almost two seconds quicker than last year’s Day 1 time.

Unlike in 2018, this year testing got underway without any major concerns about the weather at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Vettel hit the ground running with the Ferrari driver quickest in the opening hour despite a small spin blotting his copybook.

He upped his pace as the morning progressed, laying down a 1:19.137, then a 1:18.425 and ending with a 1:18.161.

Sergio Perez, 1.8s down, went second fastest in the newly-unveiled Racing Point RP19 while Valtteri Bottas was third for Mercedes.

Putting the W10 through its paces, he clocked a best time of 1:20.127 before handing the car over to Lewis Hamilton for the afternoon session.

Vettel’s former team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen, was fourth.

Raikkonen’s new team Alfa Romeo launched their 2019 challenger, the C38, early Monday morning before Raikkonen ventured out for the first laps.

That didn’t last long as the Finn brought out the first red flag of testing when he beached the car in the gravel at Turn 5 just five minutes into the session.

Raikkonen and the C38 returned to the pits separately but the incident only cost him 45 minutes of track time as Alfa Romeo were quick to get him back out.

Max Verstappen was fifth, two seconds down on Vettel.

He covered 52 laps in his Honda-powered RB15 with unconfirmed reports claiming there was a small power unit issue when Red Bull first opened the garage doors.

What was confirmed, though, was Verstappen brief stoppage in the pit lane later in the morning.

Carlos Sainz in the McLaren was P6 ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean.

Grosjean brought out the reds when his Rich Energy Haas VF-19 suffered a fuel pressure issue. That left him stuck in the pits with just 18 laps on the board.

Daniil Kvyat, returning to Formula 1 with the Toro Rosso team, completed the timesheets.

Williams did not take to the track on Monday having announced on Sunday that they were behind on their preparations.

“Unfortunately, we have had to delay the start of our pre-season Barcelona test to Tuesday morning,” said deputy team boss Claire Williams.

“We have had an incredibly busy winter at Grove getting the FW42 prepared for the season ahead and, despite everyone’s best efforts, we need some more time before it will be ready to run.”

Williams then later announced that they are set to miss the second day, too.

1 Vettel Ferrari 1:18.161 72 laps
2 Perez Racing Point 1:19.944 20 laps
3 Bottas Mercedes 1:20.127 69 laps
4 Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1:20.160 46 laps
5 Verstappen Red Bull 1:20.174 52 laps
6 Sainz McLaren 1:20.430 56 laps
7 Hulkenberg Renault 1:20.980 65 laps
8 Grosjean Haas 1:21.500 18 laps
9 Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:21.732 35 laps

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