Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheet mid-day in Barcelona, just edging out Mercedes rival Valtteri Bottas by two tenths.
The German driver clocked in before the lunch break with a 1:20.396 achieved on medium tyres, but Bottas was hot on the heels of the Ferrari, with both men putting 86 laps under their belt
With the Circuit de Catalunya basking in the sun, the Mercedes driver – and everyone else – was hard at work at the outset, eager to regain last week’s lost track time, setting the morning’s benchmark time.
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With 30 minutes to go in the session, Vettel switched to Pirelli’s medium rubber to undertake a series of longer runs which yielded the fastest lap of the day.
Grinding all morning like his colleagues, Red Bulls’ Max Verstappen equalled his rivals’ lap count but ended just 0.253s off Vettel’s best time.
Toro Rosso continued to impress, with Pierre Gasly enjoying a trouble-free morning which put him P4 in the rankings, just 0.543s of the leader.
Conversely, Honda’s former partner McLaren was nowhere to be seen on Tuesday. The Woking-based team’s target of completing 500km a day during pre-season testing was hit with a set-back when Stoffel Vandoorne’s MCL33 suffered a sudden power loss early on, after just four laps of running.
The team investigated the battery-linked issue and subsequently sent the Belgian back out, but Vandoorne limited his runs to single installation laps.
Haas’ Kevin Magnussen’s best effort on soft tyres kept the Dane within one second of Vettel, while Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg were close behind.
Marcus Ericsson and Force India’s Sergio Perez rounded off the top-9, the Mexican enduring an off-track excursion into the gravel at Turn 4.
Pre-season test Day 5 – lunchtime
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