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Barcelona F1 Pre-season Test [1]: Vettel holds top spot as Renault suffers

Sebastian Vettel has led proceedings for a second consecutive day at the opening pre-season F1 test while Renault suffered more technical problems.
Click here for full results from day two of the opening pre-season F1 test

Sebastian Vettel has led proceedings for a second consecutive day at the opening pre-season F1 test after putting in a blistering lap on the new ultra-soft Pirelli tyres while the majority of teams ran marathon numbers of laps.

Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo were involved in a tussle for top spot in the final 45 minutes of the morning session as the Ferrari and Red Bull drivers moved on to the quicker super-soft compounds before both debuting the new purple-banded ultra-soft Pirelli.

The four-time F1 world champion made an instant improvement with a best lap of 1m 22.810s, nearly two seconds under Nico Rosberg's pole position time for the 2015 Spanish Grand Prix, and Ricciardo struggled to match the pace of SF16-H.

The top two's times were unrivalled for the rest of the day as none of the other drivers strapped on the ultra-soft compounds as marathon amount of long runs and race simulations were completed in the afternoon session.

However, Renault did not produce as much running time after Jolyon Palmer's RS16 shuddered to a halt at turn three midway through the afternoon session with a suspected engine breakdown, causing a red flag.

Palmer's day was ended there and then as Renault confirmed it would complete no further running until it fixed the issue, finishing the day bottom of the number of lap charts on 42 and only above Max Verstappen's Toro Rosso on quickest lap times.

Leading the lap charts was Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes who notched up a mammoth 172 laps, the majority on the medium compound tyre, which largely accounted for him finishing fourth on the timesheet. Focusing purely on performance, data collection and set-up the Mercedes looks in ominous form without completely stretching itself in a qualifying-style run.

As a result, Sergio Perez jumped into third place having set his best time of 1m 23.650s on the red super-soft Pirellis as he made his debut in Force India's VJM09 having taken over from new development driver Alfonso Celis. With new car seen as an evolution of the B-specification VJM08 Perez has gelled instantly with the new car.

Marcus Ericsson completed his driving in the 2015 Sauber by ending the day fifth quickest overall after notching up 108 laps on day two. The Swede will now hand over to team-mate Felipe Nasr for the final two days before Sauber introduces its 2016 challenger at the second test next week.

After finding a solution to its front wing failure on its debut outing Haas has impressed the rest of the paddock with its consistency and early pace, as Esteban Gutierrez finished the day sixth overall with another 79 laps under its belt.

Despite not setting the timesheet alight Valtteri Bottas chalked up the second-highest number of laps, 134, as Williams bedded in the FW38.

Pascal Wehrlein has completed his debut test with the new-look Manor Racing in strong form with another impressive haul of laps, while Fernando Alonso demonstrated the McLaren-Honda's newfound reliability by notching up more laps (119) in one day than the full four-day test at Barcelona 12 months ago.

Unfortunately for Renault it was a difficult day with its track time cut short by its engine failure while Toro Rosso also suffered a technical issue during the morning session which lost Verstappen almost an hour in the garages as the team fixed the problem.

Click here for full results from day two of the opening pre-season F1 test

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