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

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2019

MONTMELO, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 28: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Scuderia Ferrari SF90 on track during day three of F1 Winter Testing at Circuit de Catalunya on February 28, 2019 in Montmelo, Spain. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Charles Leclerc produced the fastest time yet of 2019 Formula One pre-season testing on Thursday morning in a much-improved session for Ferrari. 

Leclerc produced a lap of one minute, 16.231 seconds having missed most of Wednesday's afternoon session following Sebastian Vettel's morning crash.

He was in fine form all morning, clocking an impressive lap of 1:17.253 on the C2 tyre before joining Toro Rosso's Alexander Albon as the first drivers into the 1:16s.

Here are the fastest times from the morning's action at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with the top four all eclipsing the previous fastest time set in testing:

                      

1. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 1:16.231, 55 laps

2. Alex Albon, Toro Rosso, 1:16.882, 75 laps

3. Lando Norris, 1:17.084, 66 laps

4. Pierre Gasly, Red Bull, 1:17.091, 44 laps

5. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 1:17.496, 73 laps

                        

Mercedes had another quiet morning on Thursday despite world champion Lewis Hamilton showing some early pace:

Formula 1 @F1

L👀k who’s quickest so far today Hamilton 1:18.097 📸 Albon 1:18.345 Gasly 1:18.453 Giovinazzi 1:18.923 Stroll 1:18.958 #F1Testing #F1 https://t.co/mL3uUHigKr

The Englishman got 85 important laps under his belt, more than any other driver on track, and recovered well from an early spin at Turn 10.

But he finished down in eighth, nearly two seconds off Leclerc's fastest time. 

Along with Hamilton, George Russell in the Williams and Kevin Magnussen in the Haas were the only other two drivers not to dip below 1:18 on Thursday morning. 

McLaren enjoyed another decent session having finished with the fastest lap time on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

Lando Norris was twice at the head of the timesheets and enjoyed an entertaining tussle with fellow rookie Albon before Leclerc eclipsed them both with numerous impressive laps.

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