Barcelona Day 4: Hulkenberg tops final day of week#1 (Update)

Nico Hulkenberg in the Renault
Nico Hulkenberg in the Renault

UPDATE This article has been updated with quotes and photos, and of course you can check out our full photo page from Day 4 of testing here.

02/21/19 Using the softest C5 tires Pirelli makes, Nico Hulkenberg gave Renault something to pound their chest about as the F1 teams wrapped up week #1 testing in Barcelona.

In fact the four fastest times were set on the C5 tires with Lewis Hamilton rounding out the top-5 for Mercedes on a set of C4 tires. All five were in the 1m17s bracket.

Renault finished 1st and 3rd today with very little running and certainly must come away from week #1 feeling they have made gains.

The fastest C3 tire time was set by Charles Leclerc in the #16 Ferrari at 1m18.046s.

Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola has now released its estimations for the five compounds at Barcelona. The compounds range from C1 to C5, increasing in grip level and performance through the range:

* The C2 is between 0.8s and 1s faster than the C1
* The C3 is 0.7s faster than the C2
* The C4 is 0.6s faster than the C3
* The C5 is 0.6s faster than the C4

If this is true then Leclerc really set the fastest time today on the C3 tires.

Meanwhile Red Bull are quietly happy

Red Bull says it had its best ever pre-season Formula 1 test, amid its encouraging start with new engine partner Honda.

Although the team admits that Ferrari appears to have the edge overall at the moment, Red Bull's motorsport advisor Helmut Marko said that it had never been more encouraged about progress at this stage in winter testing.

"So far if I talk about Red Bull and Toro Rosso, we had a very good time," Marko told Sky.

"I would say we never had such good preparation for the season. For both teams."

"It's a new period. We don't look back. We look forward," he said. "It's a very good relationship.

"The concern was of course reliability and so far that's not a problem at all. It's a new culture as well. But it fits well with our people."


Antonio Giovinazzi
Antonio Giovinazzi

Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
“After another full day in the car, I am satisfied with the progress we have made this week and overall our team is feeling motivated by our recent learnings. I feel comfortable in the car as well as in the team itself and we are all working together constructively. We have another week of testing ahead of us which we will use to focus on making further progress and learn even more about our new car. I am already looking forward to being back on track."

Lewis Hamilton
It was quite cold in the morning which meant that it was a little bit difficult with the tires for everyone. In general, the car was feeling better today and is coming together. However, we still have to keep on digging deep, analyzing the data and the changes that we are making. The reliability has been really solid which is a great showing of all the hard work that everyone in the factory has done. But we have to keep on pushing, the competition looks very strong. The weather has been good all week so we could get through our program and it was great to see the fans out there. I'm looking forward to coming back next week.

Valtteri Bottas in the pea gravel
Valtteri Bottas in the pea gravel

Valtteri Bottas
The first week of testing was really good for us in terms of reliability, we got a lot of mileage in with the new car and didn't experience any major issues. Today we did some shorter runs, seeing how the W10 works when you try to extract a little bit more performance out of it. We've been making progress throughout the entire week, the car felt better every single day. We're now looking forward to next week when we will hopefully make even more progress. Many thanks to the entire team, it was a good first test. Now we're all hungry to improve even more in the second test.

Andrew Shovlin
Lewis had a tricky start to the day as the track was so cold it was difficult to get the used tires to work. To avoid doing any damage, we waited around for a while for the surface to warm before getting into the program. It's the first time we've tried the softer tires on the W10 and today was just a first look to understand the grip and balance differences between them. Valtteri's program in the afternoon was quite similar to Lewis, running through the same compounds. We've had a very productive few days and the car has run very reliably which has helped us get through the program. It's clear from this week that we're going to have strong competition this year with Ferrari and Red Bull but hopefully we'll have another good test next week which will help us with our final preparations for Melbourne

Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc
With the media. During the lunch break, Leclerc spoke to the media about his first days in Ferrari. “For now, I don’t want to say too much, because this is just testing" he said. “But the feeling from the car is very good. We did many laps, the reliability was good and every day we managed to complete our program."

At ease in the car. “I feel quite at ease in the car, even if there are still a few things I need to get used to, including how the team operates. But this is quite an easy car to drive. As Seb said, this doesn’t feel like a new car, but more like one that is quite well developed. Drivability is very good, which shows that the team has done an amazing job over the winter to bring a very solid car here."

Always improve. “As soon as I arrived here in Barcelona, I switched to ‘work’ mode and put any emotion to one side to get on with the job as well as possible," concluded Charles. “The results? I’m not really focusing on that side of things. I’m focusing on myself, trying to do my best and to improve with every lap."

Last test now. In between now and the start of the championship, which gets underway in Australia on 17 March, there are a further four days of testing scheduled for all the teams, again at the Barcelona track. The session gets underway on Tuesday 26 February and end on Friday 1 March.

Lance Stroll
Lance Stroll

Lance Stroll:
“It’s great to have a week of testing under our belt and I am feeling positive. We covered some good mileage today and went through most of our test program: it’s been a good start and we can build on it next week. My confidence and comfort with the team have grown: they have given me all the tools I need as a driver. They have been very supportive and this is what helps me get the best out of myself and the car. I am looking forward to next week and doing more set-up work so that we can bring the quickest possible car to Melbourne."

Alexander Albon (Car 23):
“My first two days of F1 testing completed and I really enjoyed it! We had a good day today topping the timesheets in the morning session, I know it’s still early days and we don’t know what everyone else is doing but it’s a good sign for the future. The first day began with a tricky start, but the team made me feel comfortable after that and we were able to get on with the program. I think everything is going to plan quite well, we’ve hit our mileage target which is important for the guys back at the factory, and of course at the same time, I’m still learning the car. The grip is so high that it took a while for my head to adjust to it, it’s been a big learning curve! I’m still not fully in the rhythm yet but I think after next week I’ll be there and ready to race."

Franz Tost (Team Principal)
“The first pre-season test in Barcelona was a successful one for Toro Rosso. The car ran well throughout the four days and we saw good results from both the performance side and the reliability. It was the first time in the STR14 for Daniil and Alex, who both did a very good job and gave positive feedback about the car and the Honda Power Unit. There is still a lot of work in front of us to further improve the car. The team did a great job as we ended the first test with a total of 482 laps. This gave us a lot of data and we now have a long list of test items for next week to make further steps forward. The weather was very good in Barcelona this year as the wind wasn’t blowing so heavily and we reached reasonably good track temperatures, which allowed us to get some productive running – especially in the afternoon sessions. This means the test results are quite valid for the start of the season in Melbourne."

Paddy Lowe
Paddy Lowe

Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer at Williams: The start of our first proper pre-season testing with the FW42. The final few parts had arrived overnight, so we started the day with a complete car. The main focus of the program has been data gathering particularly around aerodynamics with only a very modest amount of performance running for the drivers just to get some initial feedback. Neither driver was able to get enough laps to really find the limits of the car. The morning was a much better session for Robert in the sense of objectives achieved. Unfortunately, we had a small fault at the end of the morning session which took a long time to correct and so we were late out for the afternoon and had a mixture of other small problems and red flags. This meant we didn’t achieve all our intent with George. Nevertheless, both drivers have had their first look at the car with some interesting feedback already and we have some valuable data to take back to the factory. Our focus will now move to achieving a solid program in the four days of testing next week. Thanks once again to all the team for the huge effort they have put in over the last week. It has been a very difficult process for everybody, but we are now moving forwards.

Robert Kubica: It was my first time out in the car, so it does not feel like day four of testing, but day one. This morning we spent the time gathering data, signing off tests for the engineering department and trying to put mileage on the car. I had 12 performance laps in the car, so it is too early to talk about feelings, those will become clearer next week. It would be better to have more time in the car as Australia is not far off, from both a driver and a car point of view. Everybody has their own job in the team and I must concentrate on mine to ensure that we are in the best possible shape for the first race.

George Russell: It was very important to get some mileage under our belt and get a feel for the car. It gives us a good understanding of where we are at, our limitations and what we need to work on next week. The car felt stable and I had a good feeling, but I am still yet to reach the full performance from the car. We are all excited to get back out on track on Tuesday but first we have a lot of work to do to make sure that the car is in the best possible state, that we have no issues and we can get the laps because we have some catching up to do.

Final Day 4 Times

1 Hulkenberg Renault C5 1m17.393s 24
2 Albon Toro Rosso C5 1m17.637s 136
3 Ricciardo Renault C5 1m17.785s 34
4 Bottas Mercedes C5 1m17.857s 57
5 Hamilton Mercedes C4 1m17.977s 58
6 Leclerc Ferrari C3 1m18.046s 138
7 Norris McLaren C4 1m18.431s 132
8 Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo C3 1m18.511s 154
9 Grosjean Haas C4 1m18.563s 64
10 Magnussen Haas C3 1m18.720s 66
11 Gasly Red Bull C3 1m18.780s 146
12 Stroll Racing Point C2 1m19.664s 72
13 Russell Williams C3 1m20.997s 17
14 Kubica Williams C2 1m21.542s 48

C1 = Hardest Tire
C5 = Softest Tire

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