Vettel Fastest at First Day of Testing in Barcelona
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News February 22, 2016
Photo: Scuderia Ferrari
Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel ran the fastest time as the 2016 Formula One season got underway with the the first test in Barcelona on Monday.
The Italian team could very well pose a strong threat to Mercedes this season after Vettel showed signs of a Ferrari revival by winning three races last season.
The four-time world champion was nearly half a second faster than Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in a time of 1min 24.939sec.
However, after dominating the sport for the past two seasons, Mercedes' reliability sent a message to the rest of the paddock as Hamilton ran the furthest with 66 laps before lunch. Williams and Valtteri Bottas had a strong showing as they ran third fastest.
Mclaren-Honda found new life after whats was a difficult start in testing last season which saw a very unhappy return season to the sport for the Japanese manufacturer. McLaren-Honda Jenson Button clocked in 35 laps, with the MP4-31 three seconds behind Vettel in sixth fastest.
The Haas F1 Team, the first American owned team in Formula One for 30 years, took their first tentative steps as French Romain Grosjean logged 13 laps, but his session was ended prematurely by a broken front wing that temporarily stopped running.
“It was a pretty exciting day. The morning went very well until we had a small front wing failure. It compromised our afternoon a little, but it was good that we could put some laps on the car later. We don’t have any big problems. I’m very happy with the first day. It’s been a really good start for the team. It’s been a positive day. Of course, you always want more and more, but I think the most important thing is that I’m happy with the car. The first impression is really good. The car balance is there straight away.” Grosjean said.
Manor Racing were the only team to struggle mightily as new German recruit Pascal Wehrlein managed just seven laps and was over six seconds adrift of the field.
Renault Sport Formula One Team completed its first day of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with Jolyon Palmer debuting Renault’s first Formula 1 car in over six years. Jolyon completed 37 laps with a fastest lap time of 1min 29.356secs.
“It was great to take to the track for the first time in the car I will race this season. We didn’t have too exciting a programme to run through today and it was somewhat disjointed, but it was the first day of testing and we’ve completed valuable aspects of the pre-season build-up today. I’m looking forward to getting more running in the car tomorrow.” Palmer said.