Daniel Ricciardo has set a new track record at the Circuit de Catalunya with a 1m 18.047s as the pace heated up in the second Formula 1 test while McLaren and Fernando Alonso hit further mechanical worries.

After Lewis Hamilton had topped the early times using Pirelli’s unmarked development tyres – initially setting a new circuit record only to see it scratched out having cut the chicane in the final sector – the Mercedes driver still topped the times after completing a qualifying simulation just after midday on the new Pirelli ultrasofts to set a top time of 1m 18.400s, just 0.061s off the all-time circuit record held by Felipe Massa for Ferrari from 2008.

But his effort was trumped by Ricciardo’s initial flying lap of 1m 18.357s using the hypersoft Pirelli tyres to edge closer to Massa’s decade-old all-time record. After making a few set-up tweaks, Ricciardo then ducked under Massa’s track record with a 1m 18.047s on the hypersoft tyres.

While Mercedes and Red Bull flexed its muscles for qualifying pace, McLaren once again hit trouble after two battery issues and a hydraulics failure yesterday which was followed up by an oil leak for Fernando Alonso on his 47th lap of the day.

The two-time F1 world champion was force to stop on track at Turn 7 after suffering an oil leak which has triggered a complete Renault power unit change which is expected to see Alonso lose over three hours of track time.

Vettel and Ferrari opted not to dip into the qualifying runs during the morning but comfortable took third place on the times, with the German driver stepping in for an unwell Kimi Raikkonen, with Alonso’s best effort of 1m 19.856s giving him fourth on the timesheet.

Carlos Sainz has enjoyed a marathon number of laps in the morning for Renault to pick up on lost mileage from the first test to take fifth on the timesheet ahead of the Haas of Romain Grosjean.

After a sedated start to the day’s test plan, Lance Stroll picked up his pace for Williams to rise up to seventh place with a best lap of 1m 20.349s ahead of Esteban Ocon for Force India who had his personal best lap deleted after cutting the Turn 14 chicane.

Brendon Hartley suffered a small spin in the Toro Rosso Honda around the midday mark but still notched up over a half-century of laps with Charles Leclerc rounding out the morning runners in 10th for Alfa Romeo Sauber.

 

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