It looked like Kimi Raikkonen would remain clear of the field at the end of Wednesday’s running in Barcelona, but that was discounting a late charge from Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat who stole the Alfa Romeo driver’s thunder.
The Russian driver ended Day 3 of pre-season testing as the top of the time-sheet with a 1m17.704 lap that just edged Raikkonen and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.
Pre-season test Day 3
The afternoon session had been under wat for less than 15 minutes when, for the second time today, a Haas brought out the red flag.
This time, the team’s VF-19 ground to a halt with Romain Grosjean at the wheel. The Frenchman had no choice but to exit his stranded car and wait for the recovery truck.
Lo and behold, thirty minutes into the session, Barcelona finally saw a Williams on track, with George Russell conducting a trouble-free installation lap that was even greeted with a round of applause from the grandstands!
Over at Renault, Daniel Ricciardo was back in the R.S.19 which was once again fitted with an active DRS on its rear wing.
The device’s functionality had been deactivated during the morning session with Nico Hulkenberg as the team had yet to update the system with new parts after yesterday’s failure.
Most teams tend to devote the morning session to shorter runs while longer stints are usually the norm in the afternoon, which is why most drivers remain several seconds off their morning pace in the first few hours of the second part of the day.
Raikkonen and Vettel were the first drivers to pass the day’s century mark in terms of laps, but neither the Alfa Romeo man or the Ferrari stalwart were seeking to better their morning performance.
Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat was also building on his lap count, the F1 returnee continuing to get back into the groove while getting acquainted with the STR14.
With Lewis Hamilton relaying Valtteri Bottas behind the wheel of W10, Mercedes was still not interested in chasing anything that resembled a representative lap time, the Silver Arrows squad keeping its head down and continuing to rack up the miles.
Haas and Grosjean resumed their workload after the VF-19’s earlier breakdown, the Frenchman improving on Pietro Fittipaldi’s morning best.
After a series of installation laps, Russell eventually managed to string together a series of multi-lap runs, but it was predictably a laborious process for Williams which is also waiting on specific parts to begin its aero programme.
As the session entered its final hour, Ricciardo set a 1m19.498 personal best on the Pirelli C3 compound, but the Aussie went one softer with the C4 compound before producing an effort that yielded a 1m18.164 and a spot among the top three.
The sun was setting on the Circuit de Catalunya when the screens suddenly displayed the name of Daniil Kvyat in P1!
The Toro Rosso-Honda driver, who had moved up to third on his previous run, clocked in with a 1m17.704 that just marginally edged Raikkonen’s best and set a new benchmark time for the week.
Mind you, the Russian did it on an all-out, one-lap wonder on Pirelli’s C5 compound – the equivalent of the ultrasoft, and likely on a very low fuel load.
Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Toro Rosso, Renault, Mercedes, Haas and Red Bull all concluded their day with well over 100 laps on the board.
The dying moments of the session saw a ‘Haas-trick’ from the US outfit as the VF-19 broke down for the third time of the day, bringing out the red flag and a premature end to Wednesday’s running.
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