McLaren and Racing Point lap quickest as Vettel hits trouble on day 2

The famous name of McLaren once again sat atop the lap times as the sun set on the second day of the final pre-season Barcelona test.

In a repeat of yesterday, Racing Point were second but another famous name in Ferrari had a more troubling day as Sebastian Vettel suffered a high-speed crash in the morning. The four-time champion walked away unscathed, but the team was unable to complete any more running in the day, (save one installation lap) the issue a suspected front left suspension failure.

Having set tongues wagging with its pace in the first Barcelona test last week, the opening two days this time around serve as a stark reminder that there is much work to do before Melbourne – Charles Leclerc’s Tuesday running also hampered by a cooling issue.

Pace setter Sainz was also not without problems of his own, the Spaniard stopping with a water pressure issue in the morning. Yet he still managed a substantial 130 laps, his 1m17.144s benchmark set on the second softest C4 Pirelli compound.

Perez was next for Racing Point, his 1m17.842s set on the softest C5 rubber.

“It was a good day, even though we had a bit of a slow start,” commented Perez after. “We had a couple of small issues here and there and the red flags didn’t help, but in the end we finished the day with plenty of information. We were able to finally try some long runs after being pretty limited on mileage last week.

“We got to try the softer compounds of the Pirelli range and I was happy about the grip they offer. I had a good feeling with them and I hope we get to use them often this season, because they should work well on the majority of tracks. I am looking forward to a good, trouble-free final day on the car on Friday, so that I can then prepare myself well before we head to Melbourne.”

Despite his early fright, Vettel was third fastest running on the C3 ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Romain Grosjean, Max Verstappen and Daniil Kvyat. Next came the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, but the duo managed 176 laps between them, and the champions must surely be holding something back with a couple of days of running before packing up before heading back to the Woking factory and on to Australia.

Williams will also be encouraged by more lap time, Robert Kubica managing 130 laps of the circuit – equalling Sainz as the driver with the most running time of the day.

“It was another day of perfect winter testing weather and we had an ambitious programme planned with Robert in the car,” commented Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer. “We had a trouble-free day and got through 130 laps to complete the entire programme for the day. We made some progress following analysis of the car overnight, especially on the long runs, but there is a lot more to find. We have good data to analyse from today’s runs and so that will help give us further direction for another important day tomorrow.”

Top photo © Racing Point F1.

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.