Ferrari’s Leclerc sets fastest time of F1 preseason tests

by Leon Thompson March 3, 2019, 1:09
Ferrari’s Leclerc sets fastest time of F1 preseason tests

"But I'm glad I still got to do a few laps, the team did a really good job to get the vehicle out again; it was important to get a bit of a feel for the new aero package".

He said earlier in the day he was happy Ferrari rejigged its run plan to give him a full day in the auto, after cooling checks and a crash for teammate Sebastian Vettel cost him valuable mileage on the opening two days of the second test.

Ferrari said Vettel's sudden accident at turn three was caused by a mechanical problem with the front left.

While that goal still looks lofty, the 21-year-old Leclerc impressed on Thursday when he set the fastest lap so far of this year's Formula One preseason testing in northeastern Spain.

Speaking about his lap time, Leclerc added: "Obviously, I think as every team, we are not flat out". There's still a lot to learn but it's a good start.

A truck carries the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel after he crashed into the barriers.

When asked if he had gotten any pointers from Vettel, Leclerc said that they their relation was far from student-teacher.

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But while the auto was checked in the garage, the team assured fans that Vettel was fine with a short post on Twitter.

Leclerc set the fastest time of the winter by more than half a second before Gasly damaged the Red Bull at the high-speed Turn Nine, his second crash this winter. They finished in 10th and 13th place respectively. "We need to unlock more from the new package to be able to compete with them properly".

Another red flag came out when Lance Stroll's Racing Point auto stopped in a straight.

The young Monegasque's time of one minute 16.231 seconds was a talking point on a sunny day at the Circuit de Catalunya, confirming Ferrari's status as early frontrunners, while Frenchman Pierre Gasly had a heavy crash in his Red Bull.

Along with Russell's long run, there were also promising performances from two more F1 newcomers.

Anglo-Thai driver Alexander Albon was second fastest on the penultimate day with a lap of 1:16.882, also on C5 tires, with McLaren's Lando Norris third in 1:16.882.

His benchmark - comfortably the quickest of pre-season testing - was just six-tenths down on the circuit record, the pole position time set by Lewis Hamilton for last May's Grand Prix.

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