F1 Pre-Season Testing 2020: Wednesday Times and Analysis from Barcelona

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2020

Mercedes-AMG Petronas' Lewis Hamilton drives during a Formula One pre-season testing session at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, outside Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)
Joan Monfort/Associated Press

Robert Kubica set the quickest time during 2020 Formula One pre-season testing on Wednesday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

He topped the timesheet in his Alfa Romeo with a fastest lap of one minute, 16.942 seconds.

Max Verstappen went second-fastest for Red Bull during his 83 laps, ending 0.405 seconds behind Kubica's quickest run.

Windy conditions provided complicated driving conditions, but AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon of Red Bull gave eye-catching runs during the morning.

World champion Lewis Hamilton was seventh-fastest overall, and Mercedes completed 179 laps during a productive day as they tested their new steering design.

Here's Wednesday's classification:

Formula 1 @F1

🏁 CLASSIFICATION (END OF DAY 4) 🏁 P1 for Kubica 💪 Solid lapping all-round for our 1️⃣9️⃣ runners #F1 #F1Testing https://t.co/Lyey95Zwu0

It was a cool morning in Barcelona so maintaining tyre temperature was vital, as Kubica discovered just over an hour into the session:

Formula 1 @F1

If you needed an indication of the chilly conditions... 🥶 Kubica gets crossed up at the chicane #F1 #F1Testing https://t.co/qwx2UNDAR8

He wasn't the only driver to encounter difficulties in the early running.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel took a trip into the gravel, while Nicholas Latifi had an issue with his Williams:

Formula 1 @F1

🚩 RED FLAG 🚩 Seb slides through the gravel at Turn 8 😨 He returns to the pits, but there's gravel to be cleared #F1 #F1Testing https://t.co/RmIeDZ47Wp

Formula 1 @F1

🚩 Red flag is out again! 🚩 It's Williams new blood Nicholas Latifi this time, as his FW43 conks out going up the hill to Turn 9 #F1 #F1Testing https://t.co/oJRtxuPBt3

After some early duelling between Hamilton and Vettel atop the timesheet, Lance Stroll of Racing Point leapfrogged the pair with a 1:17.787 on medium tyres shortly before the halfway mark.

Before long, Hamilton was back on top, but he couldn't match the time set by Kubica with less than an hour remaining in the session.

The Mercedes man did record the most laps in the morning session, though, with 88, while Vettel was close behind on 84 during 65 minutes on the track.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 21: Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing prepares to drive in the garage during day three of F1 Winter Testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 21, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Get
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Ferrari ended down the timesheets, but the Italian team produced conservative efforts as they limited the pressure on their cars.

The Prancing Horse refused to show their hand, keeping their straight-line speed controlled, but Vettel and Charles Leclerc looked good through the corners.

Testing continues on Thursday, with teams slowly pushing their engines harder before the first race of the season in Australia on March 15.