A day after Charles Leclerc blitzed around Circuit de Catalunya in record time for this winter’s Formula 1 preseason testing, on Friday morning Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel went a tad quicker to head the timing screens at lunchtime on the fourth and final day of the test at the Spanish Grand Prix venue.
Vettel’s best lap time of 1:16.221 was set during a busy 68 lap spell for the German in the SF90 which was fully restored after he pranged it heavily when a rim failed earlier in the week.
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was second fastest as the World Champions finally dialled up the horsepower on a day they have said they will focus on performance, although he did complete 71 laps.
On went the softest Pirelli C5 compound tyres for the first time and by the time he parked it he was three tenths down on the benchmark time, but it was the best effort of their season thus far.
Daniil Kvyat popped up to third when he popped a fast lap during a run late in the morning, ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, Haas’ Romain Grosjean and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo with little to separate the trio.
Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen was seventh, his time of the fastest by the team this week, but stopped out on circuit at the very end of the morning stanza.
Still reeling from Pierre Gasly’s heavy shunt a day earlier, Red Bull’s day was compromised as the team had to revert to some older components because the there were no replacement parts for the new broken bits.
Max Verstappen was half an hour late to get on track and then only managed 29 laps before the RB15 disappeared back into the pits where it remained throughout the lunch break.
Sergio Perez was ninth fastest in the Racing Point, with Robert Kubica slowest of all in the Williams.