Ferrari "very close to perfection" from day one - Vettel

Vettel Ferrari close to perfection already

Vettel Ferrari close to perfection already

Sebastian Vettel set an impressive pace on the opening day of pre-season testing for the 2019 Formula 1 season as McLaren enjoyed its best start in five years.

However, most believe Mercedes was not trying to equal Ferrari's laptimes on Monday. Five kilograms of fuel costs 0.2s per lap, so even a difference of a quarter of a tank can account for a difference of over a second in lap time.

On top of that, teams are at this stage focusing more on reliability and learning rather than absolute speed.

As was the case with the German on Monday, today saw Charles Leclerc top the timesheets and complete the most laps, meaning that after two days of testing the Ferraris are the clear pace-setters, separated by just 0.086s and nearly a second of their nearest rival on the same tyre compound.

Red Bull had another low-key day, with Pierre Gasly seventh fastest overall.

Red Bull, now powered by Honda after their split from Renault, managed 52 laps with Dutch driver Max Verstappen in action.

"Out of Turn 10 I went on the power and shifted to fifth and lost it", Gasly said. "I think it was unbelievable".

"Since the vehicle is brand new, we immediately found ways to improve the balance and the behaviour and we will continue to work on that in the next days", he continued.

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It wasn't Daniel Ricciardo's fault, but Renault's new Australian driver also had an excursion off the track.

"At the start I was thinking to myself "don't spin it this morning", and that's exactly what I did!" We're testing his reaction skills.

Headline lap times in pre-season are a notoriously unreliable guide to form because teams do not reveal the specification in which cars are running, and tyres, fuel loads and engine modes all have a significant effect on lap time.

Albon later spun again and ended the day fourth quickest of 11 drivers who took part in the day, using the second-fastest C2 tyres, which Norris also used for his quick time late in the day.

Antonio Giovinazzi completed 101 laps, despite missing the first two hours of running this afternoon.

"It's very early, it's the first day, and it's all meaningless in a couple of weeks, but for now, huge compliments to everyone in the factory, how they have tackled the new regulations and what they put on track today is very close to perfection for the first day of driving". Sainz did cause one red flag during the afternoon session when he stopped at the pit exit after losing drive, but the team was able to quickly rectify the issue and return to the track. 77 laps was the third lowest of any team in the day, ahead of only Haas and Racing Point.

Williams' new auto is due to arrive at the circuit overnight after work on the chassis was finally completed at the team's factory today.

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