The good news for Ferrari is that their SF90 appears to be the car to beat; the bad news is that it is not the most reliable.
Sebastian Vettel set the pace on Friday at the Circuit de Catalunya, crossing the line with a 1:16.221 on the final day of testing.
With 110 laps to his name it appeared as if everything was going right for Ferrari, until it wasn’t.
Vettel broke down in the afternoon, stopping out on track at Turn Three.
Immediately rumours suggested that he had run out fuel only for Ferrari to reveal that it was an electrical issue and, as it would “take too long to investigate”, their test session was over.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) March 1, 2019
Mercedes showed a turn of pace, perhaps for the first time in testing, as Lewis Hamilton went second quickest on the C5 rubber with Valtteri Bottas third.
Putting on the C4 rubber, the second softest compound, Hamlton was just 0.407s down on Vettel which – according to pundits meant he was actually have been the quicker driver out track.
Swapping to the C5s, the softest and the same rubber that Vettel used for his pace-setting time, Hamilton clocked a 1:16.224 to finish the test 0.003s slower than his expected title rival.
Nico Hulkenberg was next in line ahead of Daniil Kvyat, Carlos Sainz and Romain Grosjean.
Daniel Ricciardo finished his pre-season with Renault as the eighth quickest runner ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, who brought out the reds when he stopped out on track in the morning, with Kevin Magnussen rounding out the top ten.
Robert Kubica was slowest of all for Williams, his best time for the day was 1.2 seconds off the next fastest runner, Racing Point’s Sergio Perez.
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari SF90 1’16.221 110 laps
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W10 1’16.224 0.003 61 laps
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W10 1’16.561 0.340 71 laps
4 Nico Hulkenberg Renault RS19 1’16.843 0.622 51 laps
5 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso STR14 1’16.898 0.677 131 laps
6 Carlos Sainz Jnr McLaren MCL34 1’16.913 0.692 134 laps
7 Romain Grosjean Haas VF-19 1’17.076 0.855 73 laps
8 Daniel Ricciardo Renault RS19 1’17.114 0.893 52 laps
9 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo C38 1’17.239 1.018 132 laps
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas VF-19 1’17.565 1.344 94 laps
11 Max Verstappen Red Bull RB15 1’17.709 1.488 29 laps
12 Sergio Perez Racing Point RP19 1’17.791 1.570 104 laps
13 Robert Kubica Williams FW42 1’18.993 2.772 90 laps