F1 testing: Vettel fastest on first morning, more trouble for McLaren

Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time on the first morning of Formula 1's second pre-season test at Barcelona, as a technical problem limited McLaren's running to just seven laps

F1 testing: Vettel fastest on first morning, more trouble for McLaren

Vettel finally emerged on top of a duel with Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas to take Tuesday morning honours, with Max Verstappen ending up third-quickest for Red Bull.

Bottas got down to business straight away and was the benchmark for much of the morning, with a longer run on mediums getting his best down to 1m20.756s by the end of the opening hour.

He hit 24 laps, more than anyone else, just before Stoffel Vandoorne's stopped McLaren brought out the red flags.

Vandoorne, with one flying lap to his name, had just set personal best first and second sectors before coming to a halt exiting the final corner with a battery-related problem.

The McLaren remained in the garage until the very end of the session almost three hours later, when Vandoorne emerged in time for three exploration laps.

After the McLaren-induced stoppage ended Bottas and Vettel were quickly out on soft Pirellis, with Vettel briefly nabbing top spot on a 1m20.653s before Bottas reclaimed the place by just 0.022s.

Bottas nudged his benchmark down to a 1m20.596s and Verstappen improved to a 1m20.649s on medium tyres, with the top three teams separated by barely half a tenth at that stage.

With little more than half an hour to go Vettel ended a long run on mediums with the fastest lap of the session, a 1m20.396s, to move two tenths clear of Bottas.

Verstappen did not improve again and was third-fastest, falling one lap short of matching Vettel and Bottas on 86.

Behind the top three Pierre Gasly continued the Toro Rosso-Honda partnership's fine start to life with a soft-tyre lap half a second off the pace.

The Frenchman managed 53 laps as Honda continued to make hay while its old partner McLaren hits new troubles.

Kevin Magnussen was the final driver to lap within a second of Vettel's best, posting a 1m21.298s on soft tyres.

That put Haas just over a tenth clear of Renault, which kept Nico Hulkenberg in the garage for much of the first half of the morning.

However, long runs on the medium tyre helped the French manufacturer break for lunch with a reasonable tally of 48 laps.

Sergey Sirotkin was just a tenth back for Williams, which was a little short of running on 42 laps.

Marcus Ericsson used soft tyres to get Sauber ahead of Force India in the final 10 minutes of the session, 1.497s off the ultimate pace.

Force India sparked a second red flag mid-morning when Sergio Perez had a trip off-circuit exiting Turn 4 and brought gravel back onto the track, which was swiftly cleared by marshals.

Perez ended the morning with worst non-McLaren tally of 37 laps.

Day one morning times

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m20.396ss 1m20.396s 86
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m20.596ss 0.200s 86
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m20.649ss 0.253s 85
4 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m20.973ss 0.577s 53
5 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m21.298ss 0.902s 46
6 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1m21.588ss 1.192s 42
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m21.738ss 1.342s 48
8 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m21.893ss 1.497s 56
9 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m21.936ss 1.540s 37
10 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1m24.773ss 4.377s 7

shares
comments
How bad is McLaren's post-Honda era so far?

Previous article

How bad is McLaren's post-Honda era so far?

Next article

F1 testing quiz: Test your knowledge with Autosport

F1 testing quiz: Test your knowledge with Autosport
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Sebastian Vettel
Teams McLaren
Author Scott Mitchell
Why Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash Plus

Why Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash

George Russell and Valtteri Bottas' collision at Imola on Sunday prompted fury in the Formula 1 paddock. But Russell's carefully-worded heartfelt statement later, acknowledging that his initial response was wrong, proved the right move

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for F1’s 2021 title fight Plus

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for F1’s 2021 title fight

In Max Verstappen's Formula 1 career to date, he has been cast as the 'pretender', an acknowledged top-line performer without the car to regularly challenge Lewis Hamilton. But that no longer applies in 2021, and the start to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was the most telling signal yet of what we can expect from their duel this year

Formula 1
Apr 21, 2021
How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve Plus

How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve

Daniel Ricciardo has found a new lease of life at McLaren – a move that’s been years in the making, as he explains to STUART CODLING…

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari Plus

The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari

Ninety years ago, Rudolf Caracciola became the first non-Italian to win the epic Mille Miglia. We look at how he stacks up to the most famous pre-war ace Tazio Nuvolari, one of the drivers he beat on that day in 1931

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Plus

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Plus

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021