F1 Testing afternoon round-up - Hulkenberg tops final day of testing

21-02-2019 17:00
by Louis Shaw
F1 Testing afternoon round-up - Hulkenberg tops final day of testing

Nico Hulkenberg topped the final day of testing in week one but it was a difficult day for Renault. Although topping the times they completed just 58 laps, less than any other team. Elsewhere, Mercedes finally crept up the order and Alfa Romeo continued to show promise before late issues.

The afternoon session began with Antonio Giovinazzi setting some solid times. The Alfa Romeo driver was on a long stint with high fuel and was setting times around the mid 1:24’s. More teams started to go out on track and before long Kevin Magnussen has set a PB of 1.19.837 in the Haas.

Mercedes and Toro Rosso joined the track and Alexander Albon was putting in some strong laps but it was clear that none of the teams were trying to beat his benchmark from the morning session.

Red Bull came out with Pierre Gasly who was lapping well. The Frenchman set a time of 1:19.202 and proved the reliability of the Honda engine by completing a good stint.

Through the session, the drivers were nowhere near the times which had been reached this morning. Most teams seemed to be sitting at the 1:20 mark with emphasis on longer stints with higher fuel.

Leclerc was on track for a significant amount of time. He set well over 100 laps and had a great session.

After three hours teams started to run the softer C4 tyre. Bottas set the quickest Mercedes time of a 1:17.995 to beat his teammate. However, Albon's time from the morning was still the quickest.

Williams still hadn’t appeared on track but at about 3pm George Russell emerged from the pits and set a time of 1:23.018, the Briton taking over from Robert Kubica after a busy morning for the team catching up on missed track time.

Bottas came out on track with the C5 tyre, the softest option, and he set a time of 1:17.857 which was two tenths off Albons time this morning. Mercedes may just have turned their engine up from the past few days heading into week two of testing.

Hulkenberg set out in his Renault with the soft C4 tyre and after a few laps, he went quickest with a 1:17.393. Although his time was enough to top the times, the C5 compound being the softest may be a disguise as to the true pace of the R.S.19.

Renault's luck didn’t last long as a few laps later they were forced to stop the car on track which meant the Red flag came out and the session was halted. Hulkenberg reported that he was told by the team to stop the car due to an undiagnosed issue.

The afternoon resumed with a flurry of on-track action as the sun set on week one of testing. Haas, McLaren, Toro Rosso, Alfa Romeo and Mercedes all returning to the circuit, the latter after a long period hiding in the garage.

Ferrari also returned to the track, already well into triple digits in terms of laps logged, as the teams looked to make the most of the remaining minutes of the first week back.

Efforts being made up and down the pitlane to make the most of the final day the initial week of testing such as practice starts and race pit stops but no attempts were made to beat the time of Hulkenberg.

The day ended with a double dose of red flags after Giovinazzi's hugely productive day came to a grinding halt at the end of the pitlane and then once more on-track after the session had briefly resumed.

Day four times and lap count:

Nico Hulkenberg - Renault - 1:17.393 - 24

Alexander Albon - Toro Rosso - 1:17.637 - 136

Daniel Ricciardo - Renault - 1:17.785 - 34

Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes - 1:17.857 - 57

Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 1:17.977 - 58

Charles Leclerc - Ferrari - 1:18.046 - 138

Lando Norris - McLaren - 1:18.431 - 132

Antonio Giovinazzi - Alfa Romeo - 1:18.511 - 154

Romain Grosjean - Haas - 1:18.563 - 64

Kevin Magnussen - Haas - 1:18.720 - 66

Pierre Gasly - Red Bull - 1:18.780 - 146

Lance Stroll - Racing Point - 1:19.664 - 72

George Russell - Williams - 1:20.997 - 17

Robert Kubica - Williams - 1:21.542 - 48

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