Vettel at 0.003sec in front of Hamilton on the last day of...

Vettel at 0.003sec in front of Hamilton on the last day of the 2019 F1 pre-season tests

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Sebastian Vettel
photo: Ferrari

The second test prior to the 2019 Formula 1 season came to an end today at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit. Sebastian Vettel was at the wheel for Scuderia Ferrari, completing 110 laps in the SF90. This means that, over the entire winter test sessions, the car did 996 laps, equivalent to 4,636 kilometres.

Before the day’s work began, Ferrari Chairman John Elkann arrived in the garage to show his support for the team and wish everyone well prior to their departure for the Australian Grand Prix. On track, the German spent the first part of the morning working on set-up. He did 68 laps, with a best time of 1:16.221.

In the afternoon, Vettel did a series of long runs so that the team and the driver could replicate several of the scenarios they will face in Melbourne in around a fortnight’s time

Two hours before the end of the session, Vettel was asked to stop at Turn 2, because of an electrical problem. The car was brought back to the garage and it was decided to call a halt to testing.

During the lunch break, Team Principal and Managing Director Mattia Binotto met the media to run through how the eight days of testing had gone. “These past days have been very intensive and interesting. We are still focusing on our car to understand its limits in terms of performance and reliability,” he said.

“Overall, I am pleased with the work we have carried out,” he continued

“I am pleased with how the car behaves and it was well balanced at this track. However, we cannot be completely satisfied at the moment as we would like to be faster and more reliable. So there’s still a lot to do. Our programme didn’t always run as smoothly as we would have liked, due to reliability issues and Sebastian’s crash when a wheel rim broke. There are still many issues to be addressed and we must push forward on the performance front. The fact that our car is running properly is a good starting point, but we are still not ready for Melbourne and I’d say it’s a case of a work in progress.”

“Both drivers set very similar lap times,” concluded Binotto. “We already knew that Charles is a very fast driver, as we have seen throughout his years with the Ferrari Driver Academy and last season in Formula 1. As for Sebastian, his performance shows him to be the multi-world champion we already know.”

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport continued to work on the set-up of the W10

The team also collected more aerodynamic data before the focus shifted to single-lap performance. Both drivers set their fastest lap times of winter testing today.

“The last couple of days have been very positive: it felt like the changes we were making helped us progress and gave us clear feedback of when we were moving in the right or the wrong direction. Today, it was nice to feel the car on lighter fuel and to discover it a little better; I really enjoyed the day and got a good feel for the tyres as well. I’m not the biggest fan of testing, as everybody knows, but it has been a positive week overall. Even so, there is still a lot to do and we are not there yet; there are lots of areas that we are working on and we are heading in the right direction”, Hamilton said.

Technical director James Allison added: “It was a nice final day”

“We’ve waited for a number of days to run on the softer rubber and have a look at the car in its Melbourne spec. We’re reasonably pleased because we had a good balance with both drivers and both set competitive lap times. But we’ve got plenty of work ahead of us before Melbourne. We can look back on eight days of testing where the car has been very reliable, where we’ve made steady progress throughout those two weeks with the performance and the set-up, we’ve run through a huge range of the procedures and tests that we need to complete in order to be ready for the first race of the season. All in all, it’s been a very long, very tiring but successful test.”

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