Barcelona F1 Test Day 7: Leclerc sets fastest time so far

Ferrari newcomer Charles Leclerc set the fastest time on day three of Formula 1’s second pre-season testing in Barcelona, on a day in which Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly crashed out of the afternoon session.

Having seen McLaren top the leaderboard for the first two days, Ferrari produced a response on the track following Sebastian Vettel’s problems on Wednesday.

However, during the closing stages of the afternoon session, the Scuderia pulled up just before Turn Nine, with some smoke coming from the rear before being taken back to the pits on the recovery truck.

Nevertheless, it was an impressive display by Leclerc, who put in 138 laps having clocked a mark of one minute and 16.231 seconds from an impressive late charge on C5 Pirelli tyres before the lunch break.

Gasly, meanwhile, saw his day end early after crashing into the barrier at Turn 9. The Frenchman, who also suffered a crash during the first week of testing, was pictured walking away from the car and was swiftly taken to the medical centre for precautionary check-ups.

Red Bull later put out a statement on the team’s official Twitter account confirming Gasly was not hurt.

Racing Point’s Lance Stroll also came to a halt on the straight between Turn Nine and 10, which saw another red flag delay.

Mercedes were again content to do mileage with the wick turned down, Lewis Hamilton did 85 laps in the W10 with his fastest times set using the second hardest Pirelli C2 compound, Valtteri Bottas completed an additional 96 laps, but his fastest lap was the slowest on the day by any driver. He was on the medium C3 compound.

The World Champions appear content to stay out of the limelight, but the near two-second deficit has speculation mounting vis-a-vis their form ahead of the new season which begins with the Australian Grand Prix on 17 March.