Barcelona Morning 1: Vettel and Ferrari set pace and do good mileage

Vettel, ferrari, barcelona, sf90, test, photo

Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel stole the show during the morning session of the first day of Formula 1 preseason testing at Circuit de Catalunya, the German ending the morning stanza with more laps on the chart and faster than anyone else as he appears to have found the sweet spot in the matt red SF90.

Vettel did a solid job and popped a flurry of fast laps late in the morning, he was well into the 80 seconds zone before anyone dipped into the one minute 20s.

The pace was pretty impressive considering the fact that the new rules were supposed to make this year’s cars a second or two slower, yet they look faster than their predecessors before the season has even started.

Sergio Perez was fastest of the Mercedes powered cars, putting the Racing Point second on the timing screens, a massive 1.7 seconds shy of the top time and with only 20 laps to his credit.

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas made the most of his session in the car, ending third with 69 laps completed. The Finn will make way for reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton who takes over the cockpit of the W10 in the afternoon.

Five minutes into the season’s first green light, Kimi Raikkonen beached the Sauber C38 and brought out the first red flag as marshals returned the stricken but undamaged car to the pits. The veteran Finn returned to complete 46 laps in the morning.

Red Bull’s Honda era got off to a solid start, with Max Verstappen completing 52 laps in the RB15 adorned with the team’s 2019 livery replacing the one-off shakedown paint-job. The Dutchman was fifth fastest.

Carlos Sainz was fastest of the two Renault powered teams in sixth in the McLaren, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg in seventh.

It was a frustrating morning for Haas, who only managed 18 laps after Romain Grosjean was marginalised for much of the time as his team sorted out a fuel pressure issue on the VF19.

Toro Rosso returnee Daniil Kvyat was slowest of all.

The start of the day featured the pitlane launch of Alfa Romeo’s new car, but was marred later when Williams announced another day missed as their FW42 will not be ready until at least Wednesday.