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Leclerc shines as Ferrari continues to set testing pace

NEWS STORY
19/02/2019

Those determined to build the hype in terms of Ferrari's driver line-up this season, warning that four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel is on notice from his new teammate, Charles Leclerc, will be relishing the fact that halfway through the second day of testing the youngster is only marginally off his illustrious teammate's pace.

Running the C3 compound, the Monegasque completed 73 laps this morning on his way to posting a best time of 1:18.247, just 0.086s off Vettel's best lap yesterday.

Despite the question mark over its matte livery, the SF90 looks good, stable when changing direction and its rear end firmly planted.

A late charge saw Kevin Magnussen take second place in the Haas, the Dane doing so on the C3 compound.

Indeed, tyres remain an anomaly, with some drivers appearing to perform better on the harder compounds than the soft.

That said, Antonio Giovinazzi was sporting the red-banded C4s when he posted his best time of 19.312, which put him third on the timesheets, while Lando Norris claimed fourth (19.489) on the harder C2s.

There was a scary moment for Daniel Ricciardo when the Australian lost part of his rear wing on the main straight, causing him to spin off onto the gravel at T1.

While it has been suggested that the cause of the failure was due to the DRS opening being wider this year, Renault has not commented, however, following the incident the Australian didn't run again until just before the lunch break and ended the morning with only 28 laps under his belt.

Poor Alexander Albon, who is making his first appearance in an F1 car, other than last week's shakedown, brought out the red flag just moments into the session when he spun off into the gravel at T4.

However, contrary to claims that this was due to the new tyre blanket rules, a suggestion made by Romain Grosjean following his off yesterday, Toro Rosso team boss, Franz Tost, says it was down to steering.

"It was a steering issue," he told the official F1 broadcaster. "We changed something from yesterday to today but it didn’t work out as we expected and therefore we changed once more to yesterday’s version."

World champion Lewis Hamilton had an anonymous morning, quietly getting on with things as he put another 74 laps on the W10. As ever, the Mercedes appears to have great traction exiting corners.

This afternoon the Briton hands over to Valtteri Bottas, while Nico Hulkenberg steps into the Renault vacated by Ricciardo.

All in all, a quiet morning, with the nine drivers on duty completing just under 500 laps between them.

Check out our Tuesday gallery from the Barcelona test, here.

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