Sainz stays top on day 6, Ferrari repairs sideline Leclerc

© XPB 

Carlos Sainz' impressive morning time of 1:17.144s proved to be unbeatable on Wednesday, with McLaren finishing on top on day 6 of Formula 1 pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Sainz successfully added another 74 laps to his tally, one of seven drivers to exceed a century for the day. Renault also put in similar aggregate mileage with two drivers sharing the duties.

Racing Point's Sergio Perez completed only 88 laps, but a late flier saw the Mexican shoot up to second place in the afternoon session shortly before the chequered flag, notching up a post-lunch best of 1:17.842s which was just under seven tenths off Sainz' top target time.

But it was the worst day of testing so far for Ferrari, which missed virtually all the afternoon running following Sebastian Vettel's costly crash in the morning. Charles Leclerc only had time to run a shakedown lap in the final ten minutes after the car was finally repaired.

Pre-season test Day 6

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1 Sainz McLaren 1:17.144 130
2 Perez Racing Point 1:17.842 88
3 Vettel Ferrari 1:18.195 40
4 Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1:18.209 113
5 Grosjean Haas 1:18.330 120
5 Verstappen Red Bull 1:18.395 128
7 Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:18.682 101
8 Bottas Mercedes 1:18.941 74
9 Hamilton Mercedes 1:18.943 102
10 Hulkenberg Renault 1:19.056 58
11 Kubica Williams 1:19.367 130
12 Ricciardo Renault 1:22.597 72
13 Leclerc Ferrari No time 1

Although Sebastian Vettel had been medically checked and cleared to continue after the morning accident at turn 3, the German played no further part in the day's test. The four-time champion had in any case been due to replaced in the cockpit of the SF90 after lunch by his team mate Charles Leclerc.

However repairs to the heavily damaged Ferrari ran long, and in the end the youngster barely got in a shakedown lap before the end of the day's track activity.

Meanwhile other lunchtime driver swaps saw Lewis Hamilton in at Mercedes following Valtteri Bottas' morning efforts, while Nico Hulkenberg took over the reins from Daniel Ricciardo at Renault. The rest of the driver line-up remained the same.

Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica were the first to stir under the afternoon sun in the Alfa Romeo and Williams cars respectively. They were followed soon after by Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen for Racing Point and Red Bull, but no one set particularly quick times during the initial runs.

Hamilton started his day with a series of runs on the C3 compound which eventually saw him move up to seventh place on the timing screens with a lap of 1:19.071s amid a series of practice pit stops. By the end of the day he had improved his time to 1:18.943s, just two thousandths slower than Bottas' morning best, but by then it was only good enough for ninth.

Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault Sport F1 Team RS19.

Max Verstappen was the first driver to go over 100 laps for the day in the Red Bull, during a post-lunch long distance stint on the C2 tyres. He went on to complete 128 laps by the finish, just two fewer than Sainz and Kubica who shared the most distance honours for the day.

Meanwhile Hulkenberg has a late start and waited 80 minutes into the afternoon session before making his first appearance of the day. Even so he went on to bank 58 laps by the finish, and a switch to the C3 compound saw him in tenth place with a lap of 1:19.056s.

The German's best lap heralded the start of the 'happy hour' and a final push for better times before the chequered flag. Kvyat improved to 1:18.682s on the softer C4 tyre, which was eventually beaten by an improved run by Haas' Romain Grosjean clocking in at 1:18.330s on the same compound which put the French driver fifth ahead of Verstappen.

Raikkonen had the same rubber on his Alfa Romeo when he improved his personal best of the day to 1:18.209s to put him provisionally third, just behind Vettel. Subsequently a late run 20 minutes from the end of the session saw Perez go even faster and claim second place for Racing Point with a time of 1:17.842s, after he too had popped on a new set of C4s.

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