Charles Leclerc quickest as post-season F1 test concludes

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc set the quickest time at the Yas Marina Circuit as the 2018 Formula 1 season came to a conclusion.

Leclerc took over the reins of Ferrari’s SF71H for the second and final day of post-season testing in Abu Dhabi, linking up with the team for the first time since confirmation of his 2019 drive.

Leclerc, who raced for Sauber in his rookie campaign this year, clocked a best time of 1:36.450, as teams and drivers continued to evaluate Pirelli’s revised 2019 rubber.

Leclerc’s benchmark proved to be 1.466s quicker than nearest rival Pierre Gasly, who stepped into Red Bull’s RB14 for the first time, ahead of his switch from Toro Rosso.

Lance Stroll remained in Force India’s VJM11 for a full day, having run in the afternoon on Tuesday, and placed third.

Stroll’s move to Force India has yet to be officially confirmed but is a formality.

Valtteri Bottas was fourth-fastest for Mercedes, while Carlos Sainz Jr. placed fifth on his first day driving for McLaren, having been given permission to test by Renault and Red Bull.

Artem Markelov had another outing in his role as Renault’s test and development driver and placed sixth.

A string of late improvements moved George Russell up to seventh, with the Briton’s Williams team-mate Robert Kubica at the foot of the top 10, the pair having split running in the FW41.

They were sandwiched by Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat – who had his first run for the team since the 2017 United States Grand Prix – and F2 racer Louis Deletraz, the Swiss driver piloting Haas’ VF-18.

Kvyat completed the most mileage as he racked up 155 laps at the venue of last Sunday's season finale.

Antonio Giovinazzi caused the only red flag of the day when he stopped at the exit of the pit lane and the Italian finished at the rear of the 11-driver classification.

Formula 1 2019 pre-season testing will begin at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 18.

1 C. Leclerc Ferrari 1:36.450   135
2 P. Gasly Red Bull 1:37.916 +1.466 129
3 L. Stroll Force India 1:38.044 +1.594 122
4 V. Bottas Mercedes 1:38.448 +1.998 143
5 S. Sainz McLaren 1:38.547 +2.097 149
6 A. Markelov Renault 1:38.590 +2.140 129
7 G. Russell Williams 1:38.802 +2.352 38
8 D. Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:38.862 +2.412 155
9 L. Deletraz Haas 1:39.069 +2.619 117
10 R. Kubica Williams 1:40.265 +3.815 56
11 A. Giovinazzi Sauber 1:40.435 +3.985 128