Robert Kubica concluded the first day of the second pre-season Formula 1 test fastest for Alfa Romeo, as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen set the fastest time of the afternoon in second overall.
Kubica’s morning lap on the C5 tyre – the softest of the Pirelli range – stood as the day’s best, but Verstappen got within 0.405s of that benchmark after taking over the Red Bull from Alex Albon at lunchtime.
Verstappen’s effort was served up on the C3 medium tyre, and came among a number of late improvements after the top 10 from the morning remained mostly untroubled for the first three hours of the afternoon.
Shortly after Verstappen’s time, the Racing Point – now piloted by Sergio Perez instead of Lance Stroll – jumped into third overall with a lap 0.486s adrift of Kubica.
The final late jump came from Daniil Kvyat on the medium C3 tyre, sending AlphaTauri into fourth.
In the last five minutes, Kvyat pulled over at the entrance to Turn 9 with a problem, while Verstappen also stopped on track at Turn 10 after a spin.
Behind, fifth to seventh overall was taken up by Kvyat’s team-mate Pierre Gasly, Albon and Lewis Hamilton.
Valtteri Bottas took over the Mercedes for the post-lunch action, and set the ninth fastest time – just behind Lance Stroll’s morning effort, the last time in the 1m17s – with a range of running over the afternoon.
After Bottas in ninth, the next highest afternoon runner was Charles Leclerc for Ferrari, setting a best time of 1m18.244s in 13th. That was just over 0.1s adrift of his team-mate Vettel in 10th, in what was a tight leaderboard outside the top 10.
George Russell took over the Williams, which required an engine change after its morning problem. The sophomore driver was just over two tenths off his team-mate Nicholas Latifi’s morning time, Latifi ahead in 14th while Russell was 15th.
Romain Grosjean got a full day of running for Haas and ended the day 16th with over 100 laps complete and the most overall, ahead of Lando Norris – who had earlier admitted that outright laptime wasn’t the aim of his McLaren squad on Wednesday.
Afternoon-only runners Kimi Raikkonen – claiming the Alfa Romeo from Kubica post-lunch – and new Renault driver Esteban Ocon brought up the rear of the field in 18th and 19th respectively.