The opening test of the 2018 Formula 1 season is in the books and for Toro Rosso Honda, the time on track could not have gone much better. Pierre Gasly racked up a session-leading 147 laps and registered a 10th best time of 1:22.134. Over the test 322 trouble-free laps were run with the Honda engine allowing both Honda and Toro Rosso to collect invaluable data. Critics and anxious fans should take heed that this partnership is poised to achieve its goals.
Elsewhere on the grid, Mercedes led the field in terms of lap time with Lewis Hamilton posting a 1:19.333. This should pique the attention of the field as this time was set on the medium tire. For context, second place McLaren set a 1:19.854 but did so on a compound three increments softer than Mercedes. Sebastian Vettel drove his Ferrari to a third best time of 1:20.241 set on the soft tire. Red Bull had an unexpectedly low-key day with Verstappen only taking 35 laps and setting a 9th best time. And for the first time of this test Haas came alive with Kevin Magnussen piloting his VF-18 to a fourth best time of 1:20.317 and completing 96 laps.
1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1m19.333s, -, 69 laps
2. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, 1m19.854s, 0.521, 110 laps
3. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1m20.241s, 0.908, 120 laps
4. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, 1m20.317s, 0.984, 96 laps
5. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1m20.929s, 1.596, 51 laps
6. Carlos Sainz, Renault, 1m20.940s, 1.607, 60 laps
7. Lance Stroll, Williams, 1m21.142s, 1.809, 54 laps
8. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1m21.973s, 2.640, 65 laps
9. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 1m22.058s, 2.725, 35 laps
10. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, 1m22.134s, 2.801, 147 laps
11. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 1m22.507s, 3.174, 49 laps
12. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 1m22.789s, 3.456, 60 laps
13. Charles Leclerc, Sauber, 1m22.808s, 3.475, 59 laps
14. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1m23.825s, 4.492, 79 laps
15. Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, 1m31.979s, 12.646, 47 laps
Not much to report from Day 3 of testing as the teams found snow blanketing the circuit this morning. While Toro Rosso Honda did complete an installation lap, they did not set a time.
Elsewhere on the grid, Red Bull, Williams, and Sauber also completed installation laps; however, it was McLaren who set the only time of the day: 2:18.545 on the wet tire.
Those of you holding your breath can now exhale as Toro Rosso Honda have completed another day of testing with no issues to speak of. Pierre Gasly drove the STR13 a respectable 82 laps around a frigid Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The new full-time driver logged a best time of 1:21.318 on the soft tire, good enough for the 6th fastest time of the day. While they are keeping their reactions in check, both team and engine supplier must be utterly pleased with the first two days of testing.
Elsewhere on the grid, Mercedes and Ferrari reclaimed their spots at the top of the order with healthy lap counts and times dipping into the 1:19s. Red Bull dropped down the order a bit with Max Verstappen logging 67 laps and a fourth best time of 1:20.326. McLaren slotted in ahead of Red Bull in terms of lap time with a 1:20.325; however, it should be noted that McLaren set their time on the ultra-soft tire while Red Bull set theirs on the Medium. The Woking-based squad only managed 37 laps. While details aren’t known yet, there appear to be issues at Haas with the team registering low lap counts and relatively slow times for both days.
1. Vettel, Ferrari, 1m19.673s, 98 laps
2. Bottas, Mercedes, 1m19.976s, 94 laps
3. Vandoorne, McLaren, 1m20.325s, 37 laps
4. Verstappen, Red Bull, 1m20.326s, 67 laps
5. Sainz, Renault, 1m21.212s, 65 laps
6. Gasly, Toro Rosso, 1m21.318s, 82 laps
7. Kubica, Williams, 1m21.495s, 48 laps
8. Sirotkin, Williams, 1m21.822s, 52 laps
9. Ocon, Force India, 1m21.841s, 79 laps
10. Leclerc, Sauber, 1m22.721s, 81 laps
11. Magnussen, Haas, 1m22.727s, 36 laps
What a difference a year makes. Not since 2016 has a Honda power unit completed this many laps during winter testing; a remarkable and welcome accomplishment for Honda and new partner Scuderia Toro Rosso. New full-time driver Brendon Hartley piloted the STR13 to 93 trouble free laps while posting a fastest time of 1:22.371, good enough for the 8th fastest time. During the session Honda confirmed its approach of seeking reliability first and then pursuing speed. As they work toward their reliability targets, it would appear Honda is starting off as well or better than they finished last year in terms of power with a top trap speed of 284.9 kph. The day could not have gone much better for Scuderia Toro Rosso, Honda, or their fans.
Elsewhere on the grid, standouts include Red Bull racing where Daniel Ricciardo set the fastest time of the session, 1:20.179, and logged an impressive 102 laps. Not far behind was Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg registering 73 laps and a best time of 1:20.547. Mercedes and Ferrari were book-ended by the previous two. For those interested in McLaren’s fate, the session started with Fernando Alonso losing a wheel but later returning to log 48 laps and set a best time of 1:21.339, good enough for the 5th fastest time (this was done on the supersoft tire while adjacent times were set on the medium and soft). Sauber, Force India, and Williams posted rather unimpressive lap counts and times
1. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:20.179, -, 102
2. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 1:20.349, +0.170, 58
3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:20.506, +0.327, 80
4. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 1:20.547, +0.368, 73
5. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:21.339, +1.160, 48
6. Carlos Sainz, Renault, 1:22.168, +1.989, 26
7. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:22.327, +2.148, 25
5. Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, 1:22.371, +2.192, 93
6. Lance Stroll, Williams, 1:22.452, +2.273, 46
7. Romain Grosjean, Haas, 1:23.092, +2.913, 55
9. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:24.897, +4.718, 63
10. Nikita Mazepin, Force India, 1:25.628, +5.449, 22
11. Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, 1:44.148, +23.969, 27