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

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2019

MONTMELO, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 21: Alex Albon of Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda during day four of F1 Winter Testing at Circuit de Catalunya on February 21, 2019 in Montmelo, Spain. (Photo by Eric Alonso/MB Media/Getty Images)
Eric Alonso/MB Media/Getty Images

Toro Rosso hit the top of the timesheets again during pre-season Formula One testing on Thursday morning as Alex Albon clocked the fastest time of the week so far. 

The rookie produced a lap of one minute, 17.637 seconds at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on the softest C5 tyres a day after team-mate Daniil Kvyat finished top of the pile.

As a result he headed the field during the morning's action, with Daniel Ricciardo of Renault second fastest thanks to a lap of one minute, 17.785.

World champion Lewis Hamilton finished the morning third after finally showing a glimpse of what the new Mercedes can do with a one minute, 17.977.

Here are the top times from the morning's action:

Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya @Circuitcat_eng

Lunch time! Best times (and laps) so far #F1Testing ALB 1:17.637 (44) 🔥🤫📸 RIC 1:17.785 (34) HAM 1:17.977 (58) 👋🏼 LEC 1:18.046 (75) 💪🏼 GIO 1:18.511 (56) https://t.co/I7HW3BgWGy

Mercedes had been relatively quiet in the opening three days of practice this week, leading BBC Sport's Andrew Benson to speculate whether the world champions were on the back foot.

However, Hamilton showed much more pace on Thursday to send a warning to rival teams:

Mercedes-AMG F1 @MercedesAMGF1

Back to it 👊 Lewis takes W10 for another spin! #F1Testing https://t.co/aTDpUpNcsX

The Briton was, most notably, quicker than Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari.

Leclerc had a visit to the gravel during his 75 laps on Thursday morning but emerged unscathed. Lance Stroll also spun at the chicane at Turn 13 in his Racing Point car.

The only red flag came almost before the action had begun as McLaren's Lando Norris went off the track in the early morning cool:

Formula 1 @F1

He clocked up 39 laps so far on day four ⏱ And it's a decent recovery from @LandoNorris after a start like this 😒 #F1 #F1Testing https://t.co/FGaORDJusp

Thursday morning was also notable for the appearance of Robert Kubica:

Formula 1 @F1

The sight we've all been waiting for 😍 @R_Kubica's first full-time F1 season in eight years starts here 👀 #F1 #F1Testing @WilliamsRacing https://t.co/BHzq9aK8MU

His return to F1 after eight years was delayed by Williams' "embarrassing" car issues earlier in the week, but the Polish driver finally made it out on track.