It has been a day full of talking around the motorsport world. Thursday’s testing session ends with Kimi Raikkonen ahead of anyone else with a time of 1:17.091 on C5 tyres. The Finn also gave an end to an almost 16 hour long green flag streak when his car lost gear sync with 15 minutes to go.
A great day for underdogs, with Sergio Perez in P2 overall (1:17.347) after having led the morning session. Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo jumps third in the standings four tenths away from the Mexican.
After morning issues with his sitting position Alex Albon drives his Red Bull up to fourth place (+0.821), ahead of re-branded Alpha Tauri in P5 with Pierre Gasly (+1.030). The first session of the year for Sebastian Vettel ends with a sixth place overall with 69 laps completed in the evening and a gap of 1.063 seconds from former team mate Kimi Raikkonen. Another solid day for Williams with George Russell (+1.175) keeping behind morning runners Charles Leclerc (+1.244) and Lewis Hamilton (+1.296). The Monegasque was forced to long stops in the garage due to power-unit problems.
Tenth place is held by McLaren’s Lando Norris (+1.383).
Beside a spin by Kimi Raikkonen, the only wild ride of the day belongs to P11’s Romain Grosjean (+1.405). The Frenchman lost control of his Haas car with a half an hour to go. Grosjean went wide surfing on the gravel before coming to a contact with the barriers. Rear wing damage was made, but the driver managed to bring the car back to the pits anyway.
Esteban Ocon set the 12th time of the day with a 1.466 seconds gap from the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen. Last on the standings is Valtteri Bottas (+2.216) who suffered an issue on the hybrid components of his Mercedes on the closing stages of the afternoon session.
Romain Groasjean scores the most number of laps having crossed 158 times the start/finish line. Second is Sergio Perez with 144 laps under his belt, closely followed by Pierre Gasly at 143. Remarkable performance by Lewis Hamilton as well with 106 laps completed in the morning session only. Full time sheet is avaiable at the end of the article.
The biggest talking point of the day was Mercedes’ brand new DAS (Dual Axis Syestem): a revolutionary way to reduce tyres’ overheating and drag resistance on the straights labelled as ‘legal’ by the FIA. Still, the Federation acknowledges the need for a double check on the system’s safety. The full story about the DAS can be found in this article.