Sebastian Vettel sets the pace for Ferrari at Barcelona in-season test
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News May 17, 2016 Updated: 1:12 PM
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel finished at the top the time sheet on the opening day of the in-season test at the Circuit de Cataluyna as Ferrari went in search of qualifying pace.
Ferrari found themselves in the third row of the grid after Saturday’s qualifying for the Spanish GP, behind both Mercedes cars and both Red Bulls, and today’s test gave the team what Vettel called “A unique opportunity”.
“I think it is a unique chance having the opportunity right after the GP to test at the same track, more or less on the same conditions. Saturday we struggled a bit so today we tried some stuff. We needed to have a good look at it, but this is not the only thing we were here for. For sure we tried to cover as much as possible in one day,” said Vettel.
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, made use of his time working on longer runs, moving up ahead of Vettel on softs but Vettel responded an hour after the break with a 1m 23.220s on Perelli yellow-banded soft tires.
Rosberg manage to make up for missing the entire Spanish Grand Prix after his costly first-lap mistake with teammate Lewis Hamilton by racking up over 10 laps and ended the day less than two-tenths off Vettel.
“We did some suspension and setup work – just a few different small bits. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season – but my focus right is now on Monaco. We’ll have to keep an eye on our opposition as always but I’m feeling confident and aiming for another win,” said Rosberg.
McLaren-Honda’s Jensen Button wasn’t able to improve his morning time but finished third with a healthy number of laps before handing over to reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne.
Romain Grosjean made a late run on the timesheet for Haas F1 in the final half an hour with the ultra-soft tires to finish fourth with a 1m 23.882s while continuing work with a new rear wing introduced last week.
Pierre Gasly got behind the wheel for Toro Rosso, finishing the day seventh quickest.
“It’s always fantastic to drive a Formula 1 car and I’m happy with today. The most important was to do a good job for the team, as well as getting plenty of mileage under my belt,” said Gasly.