Vettel fastest on Day 1 in Abu Dhabi

Vettel fastest on Day 1 in Abu Dhabi

Sebastian Vettel
photo: Michael Potts

Sebastian Vettel’s racing year came to an end today as he completed 68 laps of the Abu Dhabi track, with a best time of 1:36.812min, which came courtesy of a fresh set of 2018-spec Hypersoft tyres.

“The purpose of this test is primarily to get a first feeling of the new tyres, with the impressions of the last weekend of racing still fresh in our minds, which gave us the possibility to compare. Unfortunately, today we lost some track time to repair work, but overall I think there were no major surprises as these tyres seem to work and to be fairly similar to the ones we used this season. Now we’ll see how the new regulations for 2019 affect the speed of all cars and how they work in combination with the tyres, also depending on the compound choices at the various tracks”, Vettel said.

Tomorrow, for the second and last day of tyre testing, Charles Leclerc will take over from Vettel with a similar programme.

Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes was second fastest while Lance Stroll gave the third time in his first appearance at Force India.

It was a day of firsts. Lando Norris took his duties at McLaren, Pietro Fittipaldi began working with Haas. Robert Kubica and George Russell made their first laps for Williams while Kimi Raikkonen returned to the team where his F1 career started – Sauber.