Last week, the Beast from the East and then Storm Emma hit Formula 1 in Barcelona just as it did the rest of Europe. The result was a truncated test, with limited effective running.
So the teams will be doubly keen to make this week’s four days at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya count. They are all that separate their cars from first practice at Melbourne’s Albert Park in just over two weeks’ time. The forecast is good – with temperatures predicted to peak at a blissful 19C on Friday. It will definitely not reveal everything, but by the end of the next four days, Formula 1 2018 will be beginning to take shape.
A positive start for Scuderia Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel, as the German driver completed 84 laps during the first part of the day, with a personal best of 1:20.396, which was the fastest lap time at the end of the morning session.
Most of Ferrari’s work so far today has been on the Pirelli soft tyres and one of the longest stints of the morning was no exception. Let’s try to follow this stint: 1:21.1; 1:21.6; 1:20.9; 1:20.7; 1:20.75 (with the fastest first sector of the day so far); 1:22.5; 1:22.0; 1:21.5; and pits. Towards the end of the morning session, Scuderia Ferrari switched back to the mediums, as both Mercedes and Ferrari appeared to be firmly on-track with their Day One programmes.
Sebastian Vettel’s stint on the medium tyres took another turn for the impressive as he put in a lap of 1:20.916 and followed it up with a 1:20.785, before the four-time Formula One world champion went quickest of all with a lap of 1:20.396 to dislodge Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes from top spot, as the temperatures were rising and conditions began to gradually improve.