Sebastian Vettel put Ferrari on top of the timesheets at the halfway mark of the opening day of pre-season Formula 1 testing at Barcelona.
The German’s best time of 1m24.939s came in the closing 20 minutes of the four-hour morning session, and was enough to put himself 0.470s clear of nearest rival Lewis Hamilton.
The reigning champion nonetheless easily racked up the most mileage of the morning, the new Mercedes W07 completing 66 laps – including a very long stint in the third hour.
Hamilton's lap count was 23 clear of nearest rival Valtteri Bottas, who was third for Williams, 1.170s shy of Vettel's benchmark.
Daniel Ricciardo went fastest in the early part of the session, which has held in damp conditions, but didn’t reappear until the final hour of the morning to set a run on slicks – at which point he jumped to fourth place, 1.7s down on former teammate Vettel.
That demoted Carlos Sainz in the plain-liveried Toro Rosso to fifth, ahead of Jenson Button’s McLaren, which completed a solid 35 laps, and Marcus Ericsson’s 2015-spec Sauber.
Romain Grosjean caused the only red flag of the morning when his Haas suffered a front wing failure with about 40 minutes to go, with marshals having to sweep debris off the start/finish straight before the session was able to resume.
The Frenchman logged only 13 laps on his way to the eighth fastest time, ahead of Force India development driver Alfonso Celis Jr, Renault’s Jolyon Palmer and Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein, who completed the fewest laps of the morning with only eight.
Morning test times:
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:26.704||20|
|5||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1:27.180||35|
|9||Alfonso Celis Jr||Force India||1:29.406||21|