Barcelona Test Day 3: Kvyat's last-gasp effort lowers testing benchmark
Daniil Kvyat's last-gasp flyer on the quickest available tyre gave Toro Rosso-Honda the surprise accolade of being the current pace-setters in pre-season testing.
On a day when the C5 tyres were utilised for the first time, the testing benchmark was twice lowered; first by Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen in the morning session, then again by Kvyat in the dying moments of the day.
Ferrari, Mercedes - who completed race distances with both drivers - and Red Bull all resisted the temptation to put on anything faster than the C3 tyres as they focused on their long run pace.
Kvyat's lap of 1:17.706 was just 0.058 of a second quicker than Raikkonen's effort on the C5 tyres, and the pair were also competing to top the individual lap counter, with Kvyat falling just short of Raikkonen's 138-lap haul.
Speaking after the test day, the Russian was buoyed by the feel of the car, commenting: "Honestly, I would be lying if I said it doesn't feel good. It feels to my liking so far every time I'm out there, I pretty much know what it's going to do for me, so it's a nice feeling so far.
"Of course it's early days, but a start like this is always welcome, so we plan to try to keep improving and keep working on the car. It's great."
Renault's Daniel Ricciardo finished the day in third place having used the C4 tyre late on. He finished just four tenths of a second off the pace.
A delta between the different tyre compounds has yet to be released by Pirelli so, for now, it's a little bit of guess work as to whether or not the four tenths could have been overhauled with an even softer set of tyres.
Vettel finished the day in fourth place after 134 laps with a best time set on the C3 tyres, while Red Bull's Max Verstappen was fifth after using the same compound. The second Renault driver of Nico Hulkenberg was sixth after an effort on the C4 tyres in the morning session.
Williams' FW42 make debut, clocks 23 laps
One of the headlines was the emergence of Williams' 2019 car, the FW42, which was being put together in the morning session but finally made an appearance early in the afternoon.
George Russell completed an installation lap without issue but, after a break to assess and setup the car, saved the rest of his running for the final 90 minutes of the session, completing 23 laps.
Such was the gravity of the situation, Paddy Lowe's media session was cancelled and deputy team principal Claire Williams confirmed that more parts were due to arrive later tonight which will enable a proper testing schedule to commence:
"We’re doing everything we can to condense the program we had to maximise the time available and we’re going to focus our attention on the most critical areas to get the car in as best a shape as possible for Australia but we can’t tell the impact yet.”
“There’s a few parts that are still due to arrive later tonight and we’ll be able to start concentrating on the aero program tomorrow.”
With Williams unable to run a proper testing programme today, their running for test one will essentially be condensed into one day.
Reliability problems for Haas
Despite its strong start to testing, Haas was handed a reality check when it encountered three breakdowns during today's running due to ignition coil and electrical-related issues.
The morning stint - covered by Pietro Fittipaldi - was mostly trouble-free, but the car came to a stop mid-morning and brought out the red flags. It was sent back out within the hour, but more problems were encountered just ten minutes into the afternoon session.
Now in the hands of Romain Grosjean, the Haas had more technical problems. The car stopped twice over the afternoon and lost a lot of running time. As a result, Grosjean will drive in the morning session of the final day instead of Fittipaldi. Magnussen will still have the afternoon session.
Grosjean and Fittipaldi ended the day in seventh and eighth ahead of Carlos Sainz, who had a slightly more turbulent day in the McLaren.
The team got off to a slow start on day three. Sainz spent a long time in the pits as his mechanics swapped parts on the car before sending him out a couple of hours into the session.
His running after that was mostly successful, hitting 90 laps and setting the ninth-fastest time, but a spin just before lunch sent the MCL34 into the gravel trap at turn 13. However, he just about managed to drag the car out and back to the pits to avoid any red flag deployment.
Racing Point driver Sergio Perez suffered a "drive line issue" late on and was tenth fastest, ahead of the two Mercedes drivers of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, who combined to give Mercedes the highest total of team laps with 182, whilst Williams' Russell propped up the order.
Testing times, Day 3:
|1||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1m17.704s||137|
|2||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1m17.762s||+0.058||138|
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1m18.787s||+1.083||109|
|10||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||1m20.102s||+2.398||67|
Renault says rear wing problem has been fixed
Haas aiming to fix "little gremlins" after disrupted day