Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel set the pace on Day 1 of the Pirelli tyre test in Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit leading Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.
It was Bottas heading the way in the morning hours but Vettel’s 1m36.812s in the afternoon was enough to put him on top ahead of the Finn, who did a 1m37.231s. The German did 67 laps to Bottas’ 120.
Vettel had caused the day’s second red flag after he spun in Turn 1 onto the barrier. A late quick lap from Racing Point Force India’s Lance Stroll (1m37.812s) put him in third with 56 laps to his name.
The Canadian driver made his first appearance in Force India colours in the afternoon session after taking over the car from Sergio Perez who ran in the morning hours. Stroll displaced Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen (1m37.947s) to fourth.
The Dutchman completing 131 laps in all. The other Force India of Perez (1m37.976s) was fifth with 67 laps to his name as McLaren’s Lando Norris (1m38.187s) ended up sixth with a late lap, completing 135 laps.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg (1m38.789s) was seventh with 128 laps to his name with a late lap from Haas’ Pietro Fittipaldi putting him in eighth. The Brazilian only did 54 laps after an engine issue meant his run was curtailed heavily – he also caused the day’s first red flag.
Williams’ Robert Kubica (1m39.269s) finished ninth ahead of teammate George Russell (1m39.512s) – as the latter drove in the afternoon. The Polish driver did 32 laps with the British completing 48.
Kimi Raikkonen made his Sauber return in 11th with a best time of 1m39.878s. The Finn completed 102 laps and caused the day’s third red flag when he stopped in Turn 7. Toro Rosso’s Sean Gelael was 12th with 150 laps.
Pirelli provided information regarding the tyres ran by the different drivers to set the best time of the day. The grid was divided in half in terms of the compounds used with six opting to set their time on 2018 while the other six on the 2019.
All six used Compound 5 of the 2019 tyre list, which is closer to the hypersoft compound of the 2018 season – infact, it is somewhere in between the ultrasoft and hypersoft as per Mario Isola.
List provided by Pirelli:
Vettel (Ferrari) – 1m36.812s – Hypersoft 2018 – 67 laps
Bottas (Mercedes) – 1m37.231s – Compound 5 (2019) – 120 laps
Stroll (Force India) – 1m37.415s –Hypersoft 2018 – 56 laps
Verstappen (Red Bull) – 1m37.947s – Ultrasoft 2018 – 131 laps
Perez (Force India) – 1m37.976s – Compound 5 (2019) – 67 laps
Norris (McLaren) – 1m38.187s – Compound 5 (2019) – 135 laps
Hulkenberg (Renault) – 1m38.789s – Hypersoft 2018 – 128 laps
Fittipaldi (Haas) – 1m39.201s – Hypersoft 2018 – 54 laps
Kubica (Williams) – 1m39.269s – Compound 5 (2019) – 32 laps
Russell (Williams) – 1m39.512s – Compound 5 (2019) – 42 laps
Raikkonen (Sauber) – 1m39.878s – Compound 5 (2019) – 102 laps
Gelael (Toro Rosso) – 1m40.435s – Hypersoft 2018 – 150 laps