Week two of 2020 Formula 1 testing got off to a surprising start, with Alfa Romeo’s Robert Kubica topping the timesheets in the morning session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Wednesday.
Leading the way with a best time of 1:16.942, the Pole was 0.598 seconds faster than his next-closest challenger, the AlphaTauri of Daniil Kvyat. However, Kubica’s time came on the fastest C5 tyres, which no other team opted to use.
Red Bull’s Alexander Albon was third-fastest, only 0.010s back from Kvyat despite being on C2 tyres to the Russian’s C4s. However, both Albon (29 laps) and Kvyat (25 laps) had their mornings affected by technical issues, with no serious running before the final hour of the session.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was fourth on the C2 tyre, enjoying another solid session that saw him complete a session-best 88 laps — 22 more than a race distance.
Racing Point’s Lance Stroll took fifth, his “pink Mercedes” the last of the runners to finish below the 1:18 mark.
Bringing a new rear wing to Barcelona, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was sixth, the German managing to set-aside a spin into the gravel to rack-up crucial mileage on the SF1000, finishing with 84 laps.
Daniel Ricciardo was seventh for Renault, an encouraging 0.007s ahead of customer team McLaren and Carlos Sainz despite only being fitted with C2 tyres to the Spaniard’s C3s.
Ninth was the Williams of Nicholas Latifi, who saw a promising morning finish on a sour note, as after 48 laps, an engine issue brought him to a stop on-track with an hour and a half to go.
The only one of the morning runners who will continue into the afternoon session, Romain Grosjean took it easy for Haas, 0.370s down on Latifi, with the third-least laps tallied at 42.