Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheets on the first of two days of 2019 tyre compound testing at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi today. The post-season test is for the teams and Pirelli to evaluate the new tyre compounds that will be used in the 2019 season, when the Italian tyre manufacturers will start their 9th season as the sole F1 tyre supplier.
5 different compounds are available over the 2-day test, but in a change from the Ultra-Hard to Hypersoft designations, they were only numbered 1-5 and next to no information was given at the track as to the qualities of each tyre and what times were set with them.
The test was also an opportunity for teams to give their new drivers a debut outing in the 2018 cars and Sauber, Force India, Haas & Williams all took advantage of this giving their first runs to Kimi Raikkonen, Lance Stroll, Pietro Fittipaldi and George Russell, while other newly signed 2019 drivers Robert Kubica and Lando Norris also drove for the Williams & McLaren teams they have previously driven for in FP1 sessions in 2018 and will be racing for next year. Toro Rosso opted not to give Alex Albon his debut in the car as they chose to run 2018 reserve driver Sean Gellael in the STR13 instead.
The final best times for each driver at the end of day 1 were:
|3||Lance Stroll||Force India||1m37.415s||0.603s||56|
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1m37.947s||1.135s||133|
|5||Sergio Perez||Force India||1m37.976s||1.164s||67|
|12||Sean Gelael||Toro Rosso||1m40.435s||3.623s||150|
Wednesday’s lineup will see team debuts for Charles Leclerc at Ferrari, Pierre Gasly for RedBull, Carlos Sainz for McLaren and the returns of Daniil Kvyat for Torro Rosso and Antonio Giovinazzi in a Sauber along with runs for 2018 F2 drivers Artem Markelov for Renault and Louis Deletraz for Haas, with Valtteri Bottas, Lance Stroll, Robert Kubica and George Russell returning to the track for a second day of testing.