Leclerc shows Ferrari pace on penultimate day of testing
Leclerc sets the fastest time of testing so far (Photo Credit: Dan Istitene, Getty Images)

Leclerc shows Ferrari pace on penultimate day of testing

Charles Leclerc set the fastest time of testing so far to top the timesheets on the penultimate day of testing.

James Cowen

Ferrari asserted their pace in Barcelona after the Monégasque set a 1m16.231 on the C5 tyres, completing over a century of laps during the day.

It was an encouraging day for the Italian team after Sebastian Vettel put the new SF90 into the barrier on Wednesday after the car suffered a wheel rim issue.

Teams do performance runs

The penultimate day of testing saw most teams opt to do performance runs on the C5 tyres, although only Alexander Albon could also set a time in the 1m16s, going second fastest.

The Toro Rosso driver, however, was six tenths down on Charles Leclerc’s fastest time, although showed good pace in his new challenger.

Lando Norris ended the day third fastest for McLaren, continuing the Woking team’s good times in testing.

The previous two days on the final week of testing saw both Norris and team-mate Carlos Sainz top the timesheets, with both drivers setting times in the low 1m17s.

Pierre Gasly ended the day fourth quickest for Red Bull, although suffered a heavy crash during the afternoon, bringing out the red flag.

The French driver, who completed 65 laps during the day, appeared to be unhurt after going into the barrier at turn nine.

Renault also put in good times on the C5 tyres, with Daniel Ricciardo going fifth quickest ahead of team-mate Nico Hulkenberg in sixth.

Until today the French team had not been challenging the best times, although Ricciardo’s time was only two tenths slower than Gasly’s.

Lance Stroll, who also brought out a red flag during the session after his car came to a halt at turn nine, ended the day seventh fastest with Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi behind in eight.

Hamilton shows pace on C2 tyres

Mercedes decided not to focus on performance runs during the day, although Lewis Hamilton set an impressive 1m18.097 on the C2 tyres, with Valtteri Bottas down the order in 12th on the C3 tyres.

Despite improving on their times, Williams remained off the pace, with George Russell a tenth slower than Hamilton using the C5 tyres, ending the day in 10th.

Haas were also down the order, with Kevin Magnussen ending the day 11th quickest and Romain Grosjean the slowest of anyone.