Force India’s launch and Toro Rosso’s official unveiling may have kicked started the day, but Monday was all about the first laps of pre-season testing.
Force India, at least that is what they’ll be known as for now, took the covers off their latest Pink Panther, sporting a very, very pink Halo.
Pierre Gasly was on hand for the Toro Rosso launching, joined by team-mate Brendon Hartley.
And here it is, the Toro Rosso STR13, with arguably one of the best livery’s on the 2018 grid.
A cold and very likely wet day greeted the drivers prior to the 9am start for the morning’s session.
— Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (@Circuitcat_eng) February 26, 2018
Red Bull unveiled their 2018 livery, swapping their blue-and-black camo look for the traditional colours.
— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) February 26, 2018
Fernando Alonso brought out the first red flag of the pre-season as his Renault-powered MCL33 lost a wheel, pitching him into a spin. Up side, it wasn’t an engine issue.
Kimi Raikkonen puts in the laps in the SF71H.
Valtteri Bottas was handed the driving duties of the W09 for Day One and set the early pace on Monday morning.
Red Bull returned to their more traditional colours as testing began with the first laps going to Daniel Ricciardo…
Nico Hulkenberg was running some serious aero devices on his car following the news that Renault will be turning down their engines at the start of the season to focus on reliability. He was on top of the timesheets at the two hour mark.
Brendon Hartley’s first laps in the STR13, kicking off Toro Rosso’s partnership with Honda.
And the Honda bosses were there to keep an eye on things…
The Haas and its Halo, oh and its driver Romain Grosjean.
Force India opted to put test driver Nikita Mazepin in the car for Day One with the driver bringing out the red flags when he spun at Turn 4. He beached the car and needs a lift back to the pits.
Sauber and Alfa Romeo didn’t make a flying start to their partnership with Marcus Ericsson second slowest at the lunch break – only the spinning Mazepin was slower.
Hulkenberg hit the front in the hour prior to lunch with a 1:20.547.
It was, however, Ricciardo who finished fastest of all with a 1:20.179.
After an hour lunch break, the first afternoon session at the Circuit de Catalunya got underway with the reigning World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, getting behind the wheel of the W09.
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) February 26, 2018
Other driver changes saw Carlos Sainz replaced Nico Hulkenberg at Renault, while Sergey Sirotkin took to the FW41 for the first time with Lance Stroll making way.
— WILLIAMS RACING (@WilliamsRacing) February 26, 2018
Alonso was eager to make up for lost time after completing just 10 laps in the morning session.
Perhaps a little too eager!
— Madro🎗️ (@Madro_jl) February 26, 2018
The temperature plummeted, the dark clouds loomed ominously above and the snow began to fall as Barcelona began to feel some of the effects of the winter storm known as the ‘Beast from the East’.
Snow at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya 😬 pic.twitter.com/0y35Xp68Qk
— Scuderia Fans (@ScuderiaFansF1) February 26, 2018
While most teams were reluctant to send the cars out for more than two laps at a time. Ricciardo still managed to become the first and only driver to break the 100-lap barrier.
Here’s the day one timesheet…
🏁 AFTERNOON SESSION 🏁
RIC 1:20.179 (105)
BOT 1:20.349 (58)
RAI 1:20.506 (80)
HUL 1:20.547 (73)
ALO 1:21.339 (51)
SAI 1:22.168 (26)
HAM 1:22.327 (25)
HAR 1:22.371 (93)
STR 1:22.452 (46)
GRO 1:22.578 (55)
ERI 1:23.408 (63)
MAZ 1:25.628 (22)
SIR 1:44.148 (28)#F1 #F1Testing pic.twitter.com/vHnNLvAP3O
— Formula 1 (@F1) February 26, 2018