Vettel fastest on ultrasofts on Tuesday morning

© XPB 

Sebastian Vettel was again fastest on Tuesday morning of the first pre-season test as the Pirelli ultrasoft tyres made their first appearance.

Pirelli has introduced the new compound along with new regulations which sees teams able to pick from three compounds per race weekend. While the ultrasoft has been designed for use on street circuits such as Monaco and Singapore, Ferrari and Red Bull are two of four teams to select them for testing.

Daniel Ricciardo was first to try the ultrasofts and immediately went fastest overall before Vettel - previously quickest on supersofts - also put on the purple-marked tyres and went over 0.7s clear. Vettel's time of 1:22.810 was nearly two seconds faster than the pole position time set by Nico Rosberg at last year's Spanish Grand Prix on mediums tyres.

Mercedes does not have the ultrasoft available to it having opted to focus the majority of its testing on the medium tyre, a strategy which worked well for it in 2015. Rosberg ended the morning third behind Vettel and Ricciardo, but set his fastest time on the mediums and was focusing on mileage as he completed 81 laps throughout the morning.

Fourth fastest was Sergio Perez in the Force India, heading a group of five cars covered by half a second in the morning session. Marcus Ericsson, Valtteri Bottas, Pascal Wehrlein and Jolyon Palmer were all closely matched, with Renault improving on its total of 37 laps on Monday to complete 41 in the morning.

Haas also enjoyed a more productive start to its day than on Monday, with Esteban Gutierrez driving the VF-16 for the first time. With a new, reinforced front wing at his disposal, Gutierrez completed 32 laps in the opening four hours, one more than the team managed yesterday.

Fernando Alonso continued McLaren's encouraging start as he managed 71 laps, just ten adrift of Rosberg's total. Alonso was 4.3s off the pace but rarely pushed for a full lap. The strong morning came after Honda confirmed there would be a change of leadership for the F1 project, with Yasuhisa Arai being replaced by Yusuke Hasegawa.

Max Verstappen was bottom of the timing screens having caused the only red flag of the session when he pulled to the inside of the circuit at Turn 13. Verstappen returned to action later in the morning to complete 59 laps.

Follow live coverage and timing from pre-season testing here

GALLERY: Pre-season testing day two

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