Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas set the fastest lap of Barcelona Formula 1 pre-season testing so far in the day three morning session, as Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari suffered an engine problem.
Vettel had managed what was then a field-high 52 laps by the time he stopped at Turn 16 just after two hours and a half of running, bringing out the second red flag of the test.
The session remained suspended for (minutes as the stricken SF) was covered in multiple blankets and transported back to the Ferrari garage, from which it would not emerge before the checkered flag.
Ferrari has confirmed it will fit a replacement engine in Vettel’s car for the afternoon, while the power unit that started the day will go to its Maranello base for analysis.
When that red flag flew, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen had been fastest with a C2 lap of 1m 19. 652 s, but Bottas then improved to a 1m . s – the fastest lap of testing at that point – shortly after green-flag running resumed.
He whittled it down to a 1m . s on C4s, before fitting the softest compound – the C5 – with just under an hour remaining and recording a 1m . s.
Bottas’s lap was nearly half a second quicker than Vettel’s overall benchmark from 2019 pre-season testing, and was just three tenths short of the Mercedes driver’s own lap record from last year qualifying.
His lap coincided with Nicholas Latifi’s Williams coming to a halt on the start / finish straight, which caused the test’s third red-flag period.
Like Vettel, Latifi did not return for the rest of the session, the pair making up the classification in ninth and (th.
The session resumed again with 62 minutes to go, but Bottas’s time was under no threat and he duly went into the lunch break as the pacesetter, with Lewis Hamilton set to drive the W 15 in the afternoon.
Renault began the day with the fewest miles accrued but Esteban Ocon logged a healthy laps in the mor ning.
He ended the session second, with a time 1. 370 seconds off Bottas set on C4s, and will now hand the car over to Daniel Ricciardo for the afternoon.
Racing Point’s Lance Stroll completed the top three, lapping two tenths slower than Ocon on the same tire and just a tenth up on AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat, also on C4s, who will be replaced by Pierre Gasly in the afternoon.
Verstappen spend the morning running on the harder tire compounds, and was only fifth, albeit recording a session-high laps.
Carlos Sainz Jr’s seventh-fastest time likewise came on the C2s, with the McLaren driver and his former Toro Rosso team-mate Verstappen split by Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi in sixth.
Both Verstappen and Sainz are done for the week , with their respective team-mates Alexander Albon and Lando Norris replacing them in the afternoon.
Romain Grosjean, who will hand the Haas VF – 40 over to Kevin Magnussen for the final session, was eighth and the only driver besides Vettel and Latifi not to make it to the 62 – lap mark.
Day three morning times
|Valtteri Bottas||(Mercedes||1m) . (ss) 1m . s|
|| Lance Stroll
|| (Racing Point / Mercedes)
|| 1m (ss) 1. 636 s (4) Daniil Kvyat
|| AlphaTauri / Honda
|| (1m) . ss
|| 1. (s
|| Max Verstappen Red Bull / Honda
|| 1m (ss)
|| 1. (s) 102
6 (6) Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo / Ferrari