Barcelona Day 4: Hulkenberg ends the week fastest of all

Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg ended the final day of the first Formula 1 preseason testing at Circuit de Catalunya in Spain, with five drivers dipping in the 77 seconds zone.

Hulkenberg’s best time of 1:17.393 was the quickest of the four days in Barcelona, and came in the afternoon after he took over the cockpit of the RS19 from Daniel Ricciardo who also found some pace after a subdued first three days.

With an hour to go, the German stopped on track during an out lap late in the day and ended with 24 laps on his chart.

In the morning session, Ricciardo ended his stint second fastest but dropped to third by the end of the day thanks to his teammate’s time topping effort. He covered 24 laps.

Impressing again on his second day in a Formula 1 car was Alex Albon who topped the timing screens at lunchtime in the Honda-powered Toro Rosso. His early time was good enough for second at the end of the day, with 136 laps to his credit.

After three sessions in which they kept their powder dry, Mercedes finally emerged to end the day with Valtteri Bottas in fourth and Lewis Hamilton fifth, the pair putting on 115 laps during the course of the day in which they were starting to unleash performance.

Charles Leclerc was sixth in the Ferrari, the team’s new driver focusing on long runs and high fuel load simulations. He did 138 laps in the process.

McLaren’s Lando Norris was next up with 132 laps on his chart, ahead of fellow rookie Antonio Giovinazzi who did the most laps of all on Thursday (154) in the Alfa Romeo, but also twice brought out the red flags, while British rookie George Russell managed the fewest (17) in the Williams.

Robert Kubica was also on track for Williams, who only started testing on Wednesday afternoon, and did 48 laps. He was still 10th and slowest, more than a second and a half off Canadian Lance Stroll for Racing Point.