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Vettel tops the timesheets as weather compromises running

NEWS STORY
27/02/2018

Hard to believe, but despite the apparent limited running today, what with the damp conditions this morning and snow - yes snow! - this afternoon, the 11 drivers on duty completed more laps than the 13 on duty yesterday. In fact, yesterday the drivers completed 725 laps while today it was 737.

That said, it would have been even more but for issues for a couple of teams, namely McLaren and Haas.

Over the course of the day Kevin Magnussen completed just 36 laps posting a best time 3s off the pace, and while Stoffel Vandoorne topped the timesheets at one stage this morning, a suspected overheating issue meant he only completed 5 laps over the course of the afternoon.

No such issues for 2017 title rivals Mercedes and Ferrari however, who were not only matched pretty evenly in terms of laps completed and times, at one stage Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas appeared to think the 2018 title was up for grabs as they headed down the main straight side by side.

Following a difficult morning, thought to be due to a fuel pump issue, which saw him complete just 3 laps, things improved for Max Verstappen this afternoon, the Dutch youngster putting another 67 laps on the RB14 and posting the fourth best time of the day.

But for the snow flurry, Vettel and Bottas would no doubt have broken the 100 lap barrier, and at 98/94 they came pretty close, while Gasly recorded a respectable 82 on his way to posting the sixth best time of the day.

Though keen to play down his wheelnut issue yesterday, suggesting that the media concentrate on those teams along the pitlane that were really experiencing issues, today's lack of running wasn't helpful for McLaren, especially as former partner Honda was running trouble-free in the back of the Toro Rosso. Furthermore, Vandoorne's best time was posted on the new hypersoft rubber, while Vettel's was on the soft. Then again, Bottas, only 0.303s off the German's pace, was on mediums.

With Lewis Hamilton opting not to run today, though originally scheduled to drive this morning before handing over to Bottas, Renault also chose to keep one driver in the car all day, presumably meaning that Nico Hulkenberg will get a full days running tomorrow or Thursday. Williams however, stuck to its original plan, well almost. Although it looked as though Sergey Sirotkin would do all the driving today, at 15:00 (local time) he finally handed over to Robert Kubica.

The Pole soon got down to work and by close of play had completed 48 laps and posted the 7th best time of the day, more importantly eclipsing anything seen by Sirotkin or indeed Lance Stroll yesterday.

On a day the Grove outfit admitted that it will not have its sponsorship deal with Martini extended at the end of the year, it certainly needed a boost.

After yesterday's issues, things appeared to go a lot smoother for Force India, Esteban Ocon completing 79 laps on his way to posting the ninth best time of the day.

Though the weather conditions were the cause of much frustration along the pitlane, the Silverstone-based outfit lifted spirits when a set of snow chains was fitted to the Frenchman's car.

A spin this morning will have caused a million or so hearts to flutter around the world as Charles Leclerc headed off into the kitty litter in T4. However, by the end of the day he had completed a further 81 laps without incident, albeit 3s off the pace.

Minutes after the Ferrari Academy driver brought out the red flag, the far more experienced Vettel followed suit when he spun at T6.

Hopes of extending the test by a day were scuppered when one identified team refused to go along with the idea, while heavy rain tomorrow and Thursday looks set to further compromise running.

Check out our Tuesday gallery from Barcelona, here.

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1. Posted by nonickname, 27/02/2018 18:49

"Sorry. Spell check changed Mclaren....maybe it knows something we don't."

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2. Posted by nonickname, 27/02/2018 18:48

"Ah well.The Claremont sets a new Guinness record as the first F1 car to overheat in the snow....I do hope that they get the recognition for this feat that it deserves. Fernando if it is not right by April..go home and save your pride.
Then of course we have 2 real hotshots beaten by their older and possibly slightly disadvantaged team mate who set his time in the ice cold late afternoon when it was snowing.
Gee Wizz. No wonder Martini is moving on."

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