Hamilton recovers from spin as Leclerc sets the pace

Hamilton recovers from spin as Leclerc sets the pace

Javier Howell
March 3, 2019

"But I'm glad I still got to do a few laps, the team did a really good job to get the auto out again; it was important to get a bit of a feel for the new aero package".

Charles Leclerc feels there is still even more to come from Ferrari after he clocked the fastest lap seen in pre-season testing so far.

"After thorough checks we found that Seb's off yesterday was due to a rim issue", a Ferrari spokeswoman said.

"I think they are really fast, they showed some good pace", he said.

Customer Ferrari teams Haas and Alfa Romeo are also in the bottom half for laps completed this week.

"I've still got a lot to learn, but up until now, I can say I'm satisfied". British rookie George Russell put in a hefty shift for Williams, completing 140 laps.

Ferrari did not indicate what kind of debris Vettel might have hit.

"At the end we need to work together to try and improve the vehicle, but he also wants to beat me on the track as much as I want to beat him", Leclerc said. "So yeah that has been very, very helpful". It said the damaged auto was sent back to the garage "for all the needed checks".

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Vettel had the second fastest time of the day, followed by Red Bull driver Max Verstappen and Mercedes rival Valtteri Bottas.

"They still seem strong, (but) as always from testing to Melbourne a lot can change", said Bottas, who had the slowest time of the 13 drivers.

"We need to unlock more from the new package to be able to compete with them", the Finn said.

Pierre Gasly ran his Red Bull off the track for a second time this preseason. Gasly lost control of the RB15 as he entered the corner, spun through the gravel and made heavy contact with the barriers.

Racing Point's Lance Stroll also came to a halt on the straight between Turn Nine and 10, which saw another red flag delay. Renault focused on short runs on the softest two tire compounds - as many teams did - with Nico Hulkenberg driving in the morning and ending up a little under 0.3s off his teammate in sixth.

Toro Rosso's Alexander Albon ended the day second on the timesheets behind Leclerc, with Lando Norris in third position in his McLaren.

Now he hopes day two of the second week of testing brings more track time as they continue to tweak their auto ahead of next month's opening race of the season in Melbourne.