Lando Norris put the MCL34 top of the timing sheets on the first day of week two of testing. The Briton set his 1:17.709s on the C5 tyres, the softest compound available to teams.
It was a quiet week for Mercedes last week in Barcelona but the reigning champions certainly are not holding back this week. A plethora of aerodynamic upgrades had been fitted to the car and Lewis Hamilton didn’t waste any time getting the miles in with the updates W10.
Ferrari may have started week one on the front foot but there were problems from the green light in week two. A cooling system issue on the SF90 kept Charles Leclerc in the garage for the first three hours, only reaching six laps before the issue was rectified.
Lando Norris was the first one to bring out the red flag in week two. His McLaren shutting off at turn three and put McLaren behind schedule with just a few hours gone.
Antonio Giovinazzi popped in the fastest time of the morning session just ahead of lunch. The Italian set a 1:18.589s to lead the way however his time was set on the soft C4 compound.
George Russell got the afternoon session underway and started a long run immediately on the C3 compound tyre.
The teams slowly emerged but Mercedes’ strong start to week two took a major hit with Valtteri Bottas coming to a halt just moments after leaving the pitlane for the first time in the afternoon, bringing out the red flag.
Mercedes appeared to be planning a back-to-back test of their front wing designs as Bottas had the old nose fitted to his car when he came to a stop.
With the green light lit up once again, most of the garages emptied immediately with Giovinazzi, Sebastian Vettel, Russell, Alexander Albon, Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo and Pierre Gasly getting back down to business.
The Ferrari driver posted the fastest time of the day within just 14 laps of stepping into the car, a 1:18.206s the new benchmark to beat.
Not to be outdone, Red Bull’s Gasly soon eclipsed that time with a 1:17.715s to put Red Bull fastest and the first team to dip into the 1:17s in week two.
Both quick times were set on the C3 medium compound tyre firing off a warning shot while the Mercedes was sat in the garage after the earlier issue. The Silver Arrows confirmed it was a loss of oil pressure that caused the Finn to come to a stop, forcing the team to change the engine before heading back out.
The long runs began with two hours remaining in the first afternoon back, teams choosing to use their time to accumulate data over headline times.
With an hour remaining in the day, Russell joined Gasly and Kevin Magnussen in the 100+ lap club, the only three to notch up triple digits on the first day of week two.
As the session wound down in the final hour, improvements started to come in with Stroll improving to a 1:17.824s and Norris was sent out in the McLaren on the softest C5 compound before going fastest of all with a 1:17.709s.
With just over 20 minutes remaining in the session, the red flag made an appearance once again due to a McLaren stopping out on track.
The session resumed with just 12 minutes to go with Albon, Magnussen and Russell quick to make the most of the remaining time.
Bottas also re-emerged after a change of power unit but vital running had already been lost due to the issue.
FINAL LAP TIMES
Lando Norris - McLaren - 1:17.709s
Pierre Gasly - Red Bull - 1:17.715s
Lance Stroll - Racing Point - 1:17.824s
Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari - 1:17.925s
Antonio Giovinazzi - Alfa Romeo - 1:18.589s
Charles Leclerc - Ferrari - 1:18.651s
Kevin Magnussen - Haas - 1:18.769s
George Russell - Williams - 1:19.662s
Alexander Albon - Toro Rosso - 1:19.689s
Daniel Ricciardo - Renault - 1:20.107s
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes - 1:20.167s
Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 1:20.332s
Nico Hulkenberg - Renault - 1:20.348s