Leclerc quickest in morning of Day 3 as times tumble

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc bounced back to top the morning session of the penultimate day of Formula 1 pre-season testing at Barcelona, as teams largely focussed on performance runs.

Leclerc quickest in morning of Day 3 as times tumble
Listen to this article

Leclerc had already raised eyebrows before setting the fastest time when he shot to third with an impressive-looking lap on the harder C2 compound while his rivals ran the red-walled C4 and C5 tyres.

His 1m17.253s effort was good enough for third at the time, before he used the C4 tyre to lap in 1m16.949 and go second.

Leclerc then moved to the top spot with a 1m16.658s effort on the C5 compound, despite his lap tailing off slightly in the third and final sector.

He the improved the time twice more, first by three tenths, and then settling for a best lap of 1m16.231s in the final minutes.

Leclerc deposed Alexander Albon from the top spot and the Ferrari driver's total of 54 laps was a welcome boost after completing just one lap yesterday afternoon.

Albon had previously been swapping fastest laps with Lando Norris, who's McLaren team set the pace on Wednesday, before finally edging ahead with the first 1m16s lap time of testing.

The Toro Rosso driver's eventual time of 1m16.882s came on the softest C5 compound after gaining nine thousandths of a second on his old benchmark in the process.

Norris did not respond to Albon's final time as McLaren focussed on longer runs, meaning he ended the morning third with a time of 1m17.084s and 64 laps in the bag.

Red Bull moved away from its regular C3 use to allow Pierre Gasly to undertake performance runs on the C4 and C5 compound after a morning that included running with an aero rake attached.

His best time was just 0.007s down on Norris and was set mid-way through the session.

Nico Hulkenberg was fifth for Renault as his team measured its wing flex during the early running and the German also ran on the lesser-spotted C1 compound late on.

Racing Point once again struggled to rack up the laps with just 37 completed, the lowest total of the 10 teams.

Lance Stroll's best time of 1m17.556s was however good enough for sixth.

Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi took seventh ahead of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, and his morning was disrupted by his car stopping at pit entry inside the final hour.

Mercedes completed performance runs for the first time in testing early on before Hamilton's focus switched to long runs that showed impressive consistency.

He was shuffled down the order into eighth with a best time of 1m18.097s and completed the most laps with a total of 85.

George Russell had admitted early this week that Williams had not fully come to terms with the C4 and C5 tyre, but improved throughout the morning using the two compounds.

Inside the last 20 minutes, he was able to move off the foot of the timesheets with a lap of 1m18.130s on the C5 tyre after the FW42 spent the early running fitted with a noticeably large aero rake.

Like Mercedes, Haas also completed lengthy runs on the harder compounds and Kevin Magnussen ended the morning with the 10th-fastest time and 53 laps in the bag.

Pos Driver   Team Time Gap Laps
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m16.231s   56
2 Alex Albon Toro Rosso 1m16.882s +0.651 75
3 Lando Norris McLaren 1m17.084s +0.853 66
4 Pierre Gasly Red Bull 1m17.091s +0.860 44
5 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m17.496s +1.265 73
6 Lance Stroll Racing Point 1m17.556s +1.325 37
7 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1m17.639s +1.408 49
8 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m18.097s +1.866 85
9 George Russell Williams 1m18.130s +1.899 45
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1m18.199s +1.968 53
shares
comments
Sirotkin "very sorry" about Williams situation
Previous article

Sirotkin "very sorry" about Williams situation

Next article

Mercedes needs more to compete with Ferrari - Bottas

Mercedes needs more to compete with Ferrari - Bottas
How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Prime

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022