Ferrari had had things all their own way in Barcelona – that is, until their former development driver Daniil Kvyat popped in the fastest lap of testing so far, to put Toro Rosso top of the timesheets on Day 3.
Kvyat’s effort, with just 15 minutes of the day left to go, pipped Kimi Raikkonen’s long-standing fastest time of the day, which the Finn set before the lunch break in his Alfa Romeo. Raikkonen ended the day second, four tenths of a second up on the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo, who clocked what was comfortably his team’s fastest lap of testing so far with a 1m 18.164s.
Fastest on Day 1 for Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel ended up fourth for Ferrari, while clocking up 134 laps, just shy of Raikkonen’s 138 and Kvyat’s 137. Max Verstappen rounded out the top five on his second day of running in anger in his Honda-powered Red Bull, posting a best time of 1m 18.787s.
Williams fans, meanwhile, were delighted to see the FW42 finally make it out on track following a series of delays that saw them miss the first two days of running. Appearing after lunch, George Russell managed 23 laps, posting a best time of 1m 25.625s.
Day 3 witnessed three red flags – all caused by Haas cars, and at least two of the three for the same reason, the American squad discovering an issue with their ignition coil which interrupted the running of Pietro Fittipaldi and then Romain Grosjean. There was some good news for the team though, with Kevin Magnussen set to return to the car on Thursday afternoon, the team having apparently found a way to resolve the headrest issue that saw the Dane forced to give up his cockpit to Fittipaldi midway through Day 2.
World champions Mercedes maintained their low-key start to testing as Hamilton and Bottas hovered near the bottom of the timesheet, the former admitting after jumping out of his car that rivals Ferrari look very, very strong but that he’s not worried by their pace.
So a welcome return for Daniil Kvyat, with the Russian – back on the grid after being dropped from the Red Bull stable in 2017 – posting a clear statement that he’s still fast enough to mix it with the best in Formula 1. Still, let’s see what times we get tomorrow, with teams looking to set down their proper benchmarks as the first week of pre-season testing draws to a close.