F1 Pre-Season Testing 2018: Daniel Ricciardo Has Fastest Lap Time on Wednesday

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2018

MONTMELO, SPAIN - MARCH 07: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB14 TAG Heuer leads Sergey Sirotkin of Russia driving the (35) Williams Martini Racing FW41 Mercedes on track during day two of F1 Winter Testing at Circuit de Catalunya on March 7, 2018 in Montmelo, Spain.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was the standout during Wednesday's Formula One pre-season testing, setting the fastest lap and crossing the 150-lap mark at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Montmelo, Spain.

The Australian was the fastest man during a blistering morning session, setting his lap of one minute, 18.047 seconds on the hypersoft tyres. Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton did his best work on the slower ultrasofts, and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel stayed away from the faster compounds.

In the afternoon, Valtteri Bottas stood out, but he also set his fastest lap on the ultrasofts. McLaren had another miserable day, with more mechanical issues limiting their time on the track. 

Here's a look at the timesheets:

      

Recap

The start of the session looked to be a promising one for McLaren, as Fernando Alonso set the early pace. After two hours, he had completed more laps than the team managed in the entirety of Tuesday's run.

However, after being surpassed by Hamilton at the top of the timesheet, the MCL33 encountered some familiar problems and was soon off the track, per Sky Sports F1:

Esteban Ocon briefly raised eyebrows in his Force India as he beat Hamilton on soft tyres with a 1:19.067—which was the fastest time set during the entirety of winter testing at that point—but his time was soon scratched for breaching track limits.

Hamilton continued to improve over the course of the morning and became the first driver to go under 1:19, but Ricciardo eventually topped him with a superb effort. It's worth noting his time came on the hypersoft tyres, while Mercedes ran the ultrasofts and Ferrari stuck to the soft compound.

F1's official Twitter account shared a look at the standings midway through the day as the action slowed down, despite the lack of an official lunchbreak:

McLaren eventually opted for an engine change, sidelining them to start the afternoon. Bottas came out firing, quickly matching the pace of his team-mate on the hypersofts and pushing the Silver Arrows past 100 laps on the day. Ricciardo stayed behind the wheel for Red Bull, while Kimi Raikkonen replaced Vettel in the Ferrari.

A stall from the Toro Rosso briefly brought out the red flag, but it didn't slow down sister-team Red Bull. Ricciardo ran a race simulation in the afternoon, going over 150 laps and completing a fantastic showing.

Charles Leclerc was another standout in the Sauber, striking a good balance between speed and total distance―although he did go off the track in the final minutes―while Raikkonen didn't push the Ferrari all the way and never threatened the top times.

Haas struggled with an oil leak but were able to fix the issue, allowing Romain Grosjean to put in some late laps. McLaren also made a late appearance.

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