Robert Kubica shocked the world today as he set the quickest lap-time on the first day of the second official Formula One pre-season testing.
The Pole's time of 1:16.942 was set in the morning session and couldn't be topped despite a near full grid of driver running tests. The former Williams driver is serving as Alfa Romeo's reserve driver this year, so his place at top of the time-sheets would have shocked the paddock.
His nearest competitor was Red Bull's Max Verstappen, some four-tenths off, followed by Racing Point's Sergio Perez, while Romain Grosjean completed the most laps (107) for Haas.
It was a largely uneventful test, although the Red Flag was brought out on three occasions, firstly in the morning after Nicholas Latifi's Williams broke down, secondly with Sebastian Vettel who also spun in the morning session and then right at the end of the day when Verstappen spun off.
Ferrari plays down title challenge
Testing does not often reflect how the F1 season proper will play out. Kubica's time today should be taken with a large pinch of salt especially as the other Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen finished second to last.
Meanwhile Ferrari Team Principle, Mattia Binotto, believes that the Scuderia will not be able to challenge champions Mercedes at the beginning of the season, stating that:
"We believe we are not the fastest car at the moment and we believe in lap times, we will behind at the start of the season."
This of course could be a ruse. Last year Mercedes seemed way off the pace of Ferrari in testing only for them to completely dominate the season from start to end. Only time will tell if this will be the case again.
McLaren and Renault fail to break into top ten
Renault new boy, Esteban Ocon trailed the closest car by almost two-seconds at the rear end of the grid, with his teammate Daniel Ricciardo also failing to break into the top ten.
Both McLaren's also missed out on top ten slots, but as with most teams, on day one of the second stint of pre-season testing teams have gained valuable data ahead of the 2020 season opener in Melbourne at the Australian Grand Prix.
Second Pre-Season Test, Day One:
- Robert Kubica (Alfa Romeo) 1:16.942
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:17.347
- Sergio Perez (Racing Point) 1:17.428
- Daniil Kvyat (Alpha Tauri) 1:17.456
- Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) 1:17.540
- Alexander Albon (Red Bull) 1:17.550
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:17.562
- Lance Stroll (Racing Point) 1:17.787
- Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1:18.100
- Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:18.113
- Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) 1:18.214
- Carlos Sainz (McLaren) 1:18.221
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 1:18.244
- Nicholas Latifi (Williams) 1:18.300
- George Russell (Williams) 1:18.353
- Romain Grosjean (Haas) 1:18.670
- Lando Norris (McLaren) 1:18.826
- Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) 1:19.820
- Esteban Ocon (Renault) 1:21.542