Hulkenberg fastest for Renault as first test in Barcelona ends
Hulkenburg fastest as first test draws to a close (Photot Credit: Mark Thompson, Getty Images)

Hulkenberg fastest for Renault as first test in Barcelona ends

Nico Hulkenberg topped the timesheets on the fourth day of testing as the first pre-season test of 2019 drew to a close in Barcelona.

James Cowen

Niko Hulkenberg took over from Renault team-mate Daniel Ricciardo for the afternoon session, setting a 1m17.393s on the softest C5 tyre compound.

However, the German brought out the red flag with an hour left of running after stopping on the circuit.

Despite the incident, the French team looked in good form as Ricciardo went third fastest in the session, also using the same tyre compound to set his fastest lap.

Toro Rosso debutant Alexander Albon split the two Renault drivers, going second fastest also using the C5 tyre compound.

The new signing set his best time in the morning, having gone into the lunch break with the fastest time of anyone.

Mercedes show pace despite near collision

After three days of not challenging the top of the timesheets, reigning World Champions Mercedes did some performance runs, with Valtteri Bottas ending the day fourth fastest on the softest C5 tyre compound, with Lewis Hamilton behind in fifth using the softer C4 tyres.

The Brit showed good pace in the morning, although nearly had a collision after encountering the slow moving Williams of Robert Kubica.

Hamilton was forced to take avoiding action, having to go across the former penultimate corner in order to avoid contact.

Charles Leclerc ended the day in sixth, although the Ferrari driver had been using the C3 tyres to set his best time, only a tenth behind Hamilton.

McLaren debutant Lando Norris ended the day seventh fastest, with the Brit having caused a red flag in the morning after losing control of his car at turn five and going into the gravel trap.

The Ferrari customer teams followed behind, with Antonio Giovinazzi going eight fastest in his Alfa Romeo and completing 154 laps, the most of any driver on the final day of testing.

The two Haas drivers of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen completed the top 10, with both drivers setting similar times on different compounds of tyre.

Red Bull and Williams down the order

Although completing 146 laps during the test session, Pierre Gasly could only put his Red Bull 11th fastest by the end of the day, with Lance Stroll 12th fastest for Racing Point.

Williams were able to put some more mileage on their new FW42, with both George Russell and Robert Kubica getting track time during the day.

However, the Grove squad, who missed the first two days of testing, remained slowest of all the teams.