Ferrari began its 2019 journey in the best possible way, as Vettel dominated the day with a 1:18.161 with a lap count of 169 without any reliability issue. Vettel set his time in the late morning with Pirelli C3 compound, the medium one, and no one went even closer to Ferrari’s performance. Second fastest overall was Carlos Sainz, but he was 4 tenths of a second slower despite a softer tyre on his McLaren. Third was Romain Grosjean, where the French driver took his Haas as “best of the rest” on Pirelli C3, but he was a full second slower than Sebastian Vettel.
The day ended just as it began, with a red flag caused by Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen. The 2007 World Champion had quite a good day after all, with 114 laps completed and a best lap of 1:19.462, just a few hundredths of a second behind Max Verstappen. Red Bull Honda also can be happy of their first day, as the car was able to cover 128 laps without any further engine issues after some delays in the early morning.
A good miles coverage was also made by Mercedes and Renault: both manufacturers had more than 100 laps with both drivers on track, but neither of the two squads was very quick in the first day of testing in Barcelona. Bottas was eighth just in front of Hamilton, Hulkenberg and Ricciardo, with Renault struggling to find pace especially in the third sector.
It is always important to remember that test results are not really significative, as every team are following different programs and the situation can change every day of testing with new parts and different drivers. But most importantly it's impossible to fully understand how quick a car is because of the many factors that can mispresent real performances, from fuel loads to engine mapping. Anyway, it's always a good signal to start in front, and Ferrari seems to be in a good shape, finding itself in a similar position to the Mercedes' one of the last few years.