MCLAREN TOPS THE TIME SHEET WITH LANDO NORRIS. RED BULL’S PIERRE GASLEY SECOND.
Teams are in Barcelona for the second and last week of testing before shipping to Australia for the first race of the season. Today was the first of four days and Lance Stroll was at the wheel of the SportPesa Racing Point. He will drive again on Thursday as Sergio Perez is scheduled for tomorrow and Friday.
Stroll covered 82 laps today and set a time of 1min 17.824, 0.115 seconds behind Norris. “It was our smoothest day of testing so far and we completed some valuable mileage. The car felt good so I think we are heading in the right direction. We ran on a mix of different tyres today and tried a lot of test items”.
Lance seems to accommodate well with his new team. “There’s a good atmosphere in the garage and I’m feeling pleased with the work we did today”, he says. “These days are about building confidence and getting to grips with the new car, but also getting used to this new environment. I am getting on really well with the crew in the garage. They’re great people and everyone is working so hard”.
For Performance Engineering Director, Tom McCullough, the team was able to run a smooth program all day and had a chance to try the new Pirelli compound. “The car ran reliably all day, which allowed us to complete our testing plan. It was a good day that allowed us to catch up on some of the items we had missed last week. We worked through an aero test programme in the morning, while in the afternoon we were able to focus more on rebalancing the car. We also had the first sample of the softer compounds Pirelli have introduced for this year. In general, we continued with our strong data-gathering programme: there still a lot of work to do, but our understanding of the RP19 is increasing every time we run it. We need to keep doing that for the rest of the week.”
Always difficult to know what were the specifics of the car as for fuel load and such but at least it’s nice to see competitive lap times from Lance on his run with one of the softest Pirelli compound.
Of note, Sebastian Vettel took part in the test day but Ferrari was working more on long runs. He still managed the fourth best time. Mercedes ran into some engine trouble with oil pressure issue. They proceeded to change the engine before the end of the day as Valtteri Bottas took to the track and set the 11th fastest time. One better than Lewis Hamilton.
Images: SportPesa Racing Point
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Photographer & Editor