F1 Pre-Season Testing 2019: Times and Monday Analysis from Barcelona

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2019

MONTMELO, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 18: Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF90 on track during day one of F1 Winter Testing at Circuit de Catalunya on February 18, 2019 in Montmelo, Spain. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
Dan Istitene/Getty Images

The first week of pre-season testing for the 2019 Formula One season got under way on Monday as nine of 10 teams took to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to begin preparations for the start of the season on March 17. 

Sebastian Vettel got his first official laps in Ferrari's SF90 and went around 72 times, topping the time sheet with a fastest lap of one minute, 18.161 seconds, per Sky Sports.


Pre-Season Testing: Day 1 Morning Session

1. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), 1:18.161 (72 laps)

2. Sergio Perez (Racing Point), 1:19.944 (20 laps)

3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), 1:20.127 (69 laps)

4. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo), 1:20.160 (46 laps)

5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull), 1:20.174 (52 laps)

6. Carlos Sainz (McLaren), 1:20.430 (56 laps)

7. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault), 1:20.980 (65 laps)

8. Romain Grosjean (Haas), 1:21.500 (18 laps)

9. Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso), 1:21.732 (35 laps)


Lewis Hamilton won't make his first appearance until the afternoon session, but team-mate Valtteri Bottas was busy and clocked 69 laps of his own with a fastest time of one minute, 20.127 seconds (third in the session).

Red Bull's Max Verstappen logged 52 laps in Red Bull's familiar-looking RB15 and was fifth-fastest at one minute, 20.174 seconds, almost three-tenths of a second in front of McLaren's Carlos Sainz. 

Presenter Karun Chandhok summarised the first segment of this week's pre-season testing:

Karun Chandhok @karunchandhok

First impressions - Ferrari looks very good and stable at the rear end. Mercedes and Red Bull running heavy and just logging miles it seems. Cars look lazy and fat with fuel. Honda engine noticeably less raspy sounding and sounds cleaner on the Red Bull than last year.

Kimi Raikkonen took to the Barcelona track for Alfa Romeo and was fourth-fastest in the morning. The Finn ended the morning stage with a quickest lap of one minute, 20.160 seconds (46 laps total).

The Alfa Romeo driver got to grips with his C38 as the session wore on, but he spun into the gravel at Turn 5 after less than five minutes in what looked a nervous start:

Formula 1 @F1

Oh no, Kimi! 😮 🔊 #F1Testing https://t.co/pcRpsMuQNX

That was one of three red flags in the session, the other two being due to engine failures suffered by Haas' Romain Grosjean, who got just 18 laps on the track, the fewest of any driver.

Drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll make up the Racing Point team and made a statement when the former finished second in the session with a time of one minute, 19.944, albeit a second-and-a-half off Vettel's pace. Still, Perez was the only driver other than Vettel to break the one minute, 20-second mark.

Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost said he hoped for a warmer climate in future winter testing, per Formula 1 wrier Luke Smith:

Luke Smith @LukeSmithF1

Franz Tost asked if he still thinks F1 should hold winter testing in Bahrain: “Yes, because you go out this morning and it’s f**cking cold!” #F1 #F1Testing

Daniil Kvyat has returned after a year as Ferrari's simulator driver and managed just 35 laps in the morning, with Toro Rosso likely hoping Alexander Albon can muster more in the afternoon.

Renault's Nico Hulkenberg was the third-most active driver on the day after recording 65 laps, but he still came seventh on the time sheet and clocked one minute, 20.980 seconds as his best time.

Williams were the only manufacturer not to take part in Monday's testing due to their car not being ready. Team principal Claire Williams said on Monday that it looked unlikely they will participate before Wednesday "at the earliest," per Sky Sports.