[F1 2018 NEWS FEATURE] PRE-SEASON TESTING: WEEK 1 WRAP

The F1 teams remain in Barcelona this week for the final four days of pre-season testing, though all will be hoping for better weather.

Freezing temperatures and snow interrupted half of the first four day test, with day three almost completely wiped out – the normally sunny Circuit de Catalunya transformed into a winter wonderland.

…prompting questions of whether future pre-season tests should be held in warmer locations like Abu Dhabi or Bahrain in the Middle East.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was fastest on the medium tyres, ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel’s time on the softs – McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne was in third - but his Day four time was set on the new softest hypersofts.

Far more important than headline times, though, are the number of laps run. Incredibly, Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly completed the most of anyone, with 229 laps – 11 more than Vettel. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas completed 212.

The surprises continued with the team totals.

Toro Rosso topped the mileage charts, completing 324 laps under Honda power – 18 more than Mercedes. Ferrari was third, followed by customer team Sauber. Williams outran Renault and McLaren.

Pre-season testing is often called the winter world championship, and it’s certainly lived up to the title this year with Barcelona affected by the recent Arctic cold snap… 

… and Red Bull Racing shaking down its car at a cold and wet Silverstone, in the heart of the British midlands.

SOUNDBITE (English) MAX VERSTAPPEN,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
"So we are here in Silverstone, it's quite cold, but the car here, quite a different livery for today or the filming day.”

SOUNDBITE (English) DANIEL RICCIARDO,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
"Although it's very cold here it was nice to be back in the car and always when you start, it's been such a long off season.”

This week will provide more insight into the shape of the 2018 field as the cars prepare for the final test in Barcelona… in readiness for the opening round in Australia on March 25.