F1: Vettel sets pace on first day of 2019 pre-season test in Barcelona
(Photo credit: Eric Alonso, Getty images)

F1: Vettel sets pace on first day of 2019 pre-season test in Barcelona

Vettel and Ferrari were in dominant form in Barcelona, whilst Mercedes only manage eight and ninth fastest.

James Cowen

Sebastian Vettel topped the time sheets in a dominant display for Ferrari at the first pre-season test in Barcelona.

The German was quick out the blocks to set a 1m18.161s before the lunch break, a time he could not better for the rest of the day.

It was an impressive showing from the Scuderia as Vettel completed 169 laps, the most of any driver throughout the day.

Carlos Sainz was Vettel’s closest challenger, with the McLaren driver posting a time four tenths slower towards the end of the session, putting him up the order into second place.

The time will be of great encouragement to McLaren, who are yet to win their first race since Brazil 2012.

However, it was a very encouraging day for Ferrari powered cars, with Romain Grosjean ending the session third fastest for Haas and Kimi Raikkonen fifth in his new Alfa Romeo.

Both drivers however had incidents during the session, with Raikkonen finding his way into the gravel trap and Grosjean having to stop on circuit due to a fuel pressure loss.

Daniil Kvyat managed to go sixth fastest in his Toro Rosso whilst Sergio Perez ended the day seventh for Racing Point, with both drivers unable to complete more than 100 laps.

Ferrari rivals off the pace

Despite an upcoming season that could see Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull engaged in a mouth-watering championship challenge, Max Verstappen could only put his new Honda-powered Red Bull fourth fastest, with both Mercedes drivers far down the order in eight and ninth.

Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton set similar times in the 1m20s, with the Mercedes team opting to do longer runs in the session, completing 150 laps in total.

It was a disappointing day however for Renault, with Nico Hulkenburg going 10th fastest and new driver Daniel Ricciardo bringing up the rear in 11th.