BARCELONA (Reuters) – Nico Hulkenberg ended Formula One’s first pre-season test in Spain on a high for Renault on Thursday with the fastest lap so far by any of the new crop of cars.
The 31-year-old German, who holds the unwanted record of most races (156) without once stepping on the podium, lapped the Circuit de Catalunya in one minute 17.393 seconds in the late afternoon and on the softest tyre.
Car - Track
His car then stopped on the track, however.
Toro Rosso’s Thai rookie Alexander Albon had led the lunchtime timesheets with a lap of 1:17.637 while champions Mercedes unlocked a little more pace and went faster than Ferrari.
Pace - Teams - Mercedes - Valtteri - Bottas
The relative pace of the two frontrunning teams from 2018 remained unclear, with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas suggesting the Italians were a step ahead while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc accused the champions of ‘sandbagging’.
British-born Albon, one of three Formula Two graduates making their F1 race debuts when the season starts in Australia on March 17, completed a whopping 136 laps — on top of 132 on Tuesday.
Indication - Honda - Engine - Red - Bull
That seemed a good indication that the new Honda engine, now also used by Red Bull, had made good gains in both performance and reliability after the problems of recent years.
Albon’s Russian team mate Daniil Kvyat had been fastest overall on Wednesday while Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly...
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