Hulkenberg fires Renault to the top on final day

Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg has put Renault on top at Formula’s 1 first pre-season test by setting the fastest time of the week on a bittersweet final day for the French firm at Barcelona.

The German driver clocked a 1:17.393s benchmark in the final half hour of running using Pirelli’s softest rubber.

However, the day ended on a sour note for Renault as the RS19 stopped on track shortly after topping the time sheets.

As a result, Renault logged only 58 laps, which was the least of any of the teams on the final day.  

New signing Daniel Ricciardo completed 34 laps during the morning which saw him set the second fastest time behind early pacesetter Alexander Albon for Toro Rosso.

Albon’s time stood until Hulkenberg’s effort surpassed the former F2 driver by 0.244s as Toro Rosso chalked up 136 laps. 

Ricciardo was left to settle for third albeit 0.392s adrift of team-mate Hulkenberg.

Valtteri Bottas posted the fourth fastest time for Mercedes with the Finn also using Pirelli’s softest C5 rubber.

Bottas took over the car from Lewis Hamilton for the afternoon session after the Brit had posted a the quickest time on C4 spec tyres which was good enough for fifth overall. 

Ferrari emerged in sixth following Charles Leclerc’s best effort on the harder C3 compound tyres.

A late effort put Lando Norris seventh in the McLaren ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, who impressed over long runs.

Although, his Alfa Romeo did bring out the red flags twice in quick succession when the car stopped on track twice in final minutes.

Haas F1 rounded out the top 10 as Romain Grosjean edged Kevin Magnussen.

Red Bull completed 146 laps with Pierre Gasly at the wheel having focussed largely on long run pace.

Racing Point and Williams propped up the time sheets although the latter continued to struggle after missing the opening two and half days of running due to the build delay with its car.

The final four-day F1 pre-season test at Barcelona begins on February 26.

Results: Formula 1 Pre-Season Test 1, Day 4

Position Driver Car Gap Laps
1 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:17.393s 24
2 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso/Honda +0.244s 136
3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault +0.392s 34
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +0.464s 57
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.584s 58
6 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +0.653s 138
7 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault +1.038s 132
8 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari +1.118s 154
9 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari +1.170s 64
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari +1.327s 66
11 Pierre Gasly Red Bull/Honda +1.387s 146
12 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes +2.271s 72
13 George Russell Williams/Mercedes +3.604s 17
14 Robert Kubica Williams/Mercedes +4.149s 48

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