Carlos Sainz Jr. stays fastest, Ferrari setback after crash

Carlos Sainz Jr. topped Wednesday’s Formula 1 pre-season test action for McLaren, while Ferrari sat out almost the entirety of the afternoon after Sebastian Vettel’s crash.

Sainz Jr. clocked a time of 1:17.144, using Pirelli’s C4s, during the morning session – the fastest of pre-season so far – to put McLaren on top at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

But the biggest talking point of the day was the accident that befell Vettel midway through the morning session.

A yet-to-be-determined mechanical failure struck Vettel’s SF90 as he rounded Turn 3 and he was pitched into a heavy impact with the outside barriers.

Vettel was able to extricate himself from the wreckage and was given the all-clear following a precautionary trip to the medical centre, but the front-left of the car sustained substantial damage.

The session was also suspended for over half an hour while the car was retrieved and repairs to the barriers carried out.

Ferrari undertook repairs to the SF90 and confirmed it was “thoroughly verifying everything”, with afternoon driver Charles Leclerc only appearing late on for an installation lap.

Vettel’s early time was sufficient for him to wind up third, with Racing Point’s Sergio Perez slotting into second on an encouraging day for the rebranded team.

Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth for Alfa Romeo, ahead of Haas’ Romain Grosjean and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Raikkonen was the culprit of one of the day’s four red flags when he stopped at Turn 7 during the final minute; Vettel’s crash, Sainz Jr. stopping along the pit straight due to a water pressure problem, and Verstappen halting at pit exit caused the other interruptions to proceedings.

Daniil Kvyat was seventh for Toro Rosso while Mercedes again shied away from headline-grabbing times; Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton were eighth and ninth respectively.

Mercedes nonetheless racked up 175 laps between its race drivers as it continued to evaluate its revised W10.

Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo placed 10th and 12th respectively for Renault, split by Williams’ Robert Kubica, who received his first proper taste of the squad’s FW42 after last week’s truncated running.

Kubica was one of the day’s most productive drivers as he added to George Russell’s encouraging Tuesday mileage, finishing 11th, just over two seconds behind Sainz Jr.

Thursday’s penultimate day of testing will begin at 09:00 local time.

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Flag   Carlos Sainz McLaren 1:17.144   130
2 Flag   Sergio Perez Racing Point 1:17.842 0.698 88
3 Flag   Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:18.195 1.051 40
4 Flag   Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1:18.209 1.065 113
5 Flag   Romain Grosjean Haas 1:18.330 1.186 120
6 Flag   Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:18.395 1.251 128
7 Flag   Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:18.682 1.538 101
8 Flag   Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:18.941 1.797 74
9 Flag   Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:18.943 1.799 102
10 Flag   Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:19.056 1.912 58
11 Flag   Robert Kubica Williams 1:19.367 2.223 130
12 Flag   Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:22.597 5.453 72
13 Flag   Charles Leclerc Ferrari     1