Sebastian Vettel set the pace on the opening day of the Formula 1 post-season tyre test in Abu Dhabi for Ferrari, as a number of drivers made their first appearances for new teams.

2018 F1 championship runner-up Vettel posted a fastest lap of 1m36.812s to finish the day four-tenths of a second clear of Mercedes rival Valtteri Bottas, completing 68 laps in his final outing in the SF71H car.

Driver Ratings - Abu Dhabi GP

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Vettel’s day was not completely smooth, with a mistake at Turn 1 causing him to spin into the wall three hours into the day. Vettel got back to the pits where his car was quickly repaired, but work required to fix the barrier meant the session was red-flagged briefly.

Lance Stroll made his first appearance for Force India ahead of his anticipated move to the team for 2019, taking over from Sergio Perez for the afternoon. Stroll ended the day third-fastest overall with 55 laps to his name, six-tenths of a second down on Vettel’s time.

Max Verstappen took fourth for Red Bull ahead of Perez, while Lando Norris took sixth in the McLaren as he enjoyed his first extended run for the team since securing a 2019 race seat back in September.

Nico Hulkenberg finished the day seventh for Renault, racking up over two race distances in the Renault R.S.18 car.

Pietro Fittipaldi enjoyed his long-awaited maiden F1 test with Haas on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi, but was limited to only 42 laps after a power unit issue forced him to stop on-track two hours into the day. Following a power unit replacement, Fittipaldi returned to the track in the afternoon, finishing eighth overall.

Williams split running between its 2019 race drivers on Tuesday, with Robert Kubica finishing ninth ahead of future teammate George Russell. Russell racked up 42 laps in total in his maiden outing for Williams.

Kimi Raikkonen made his first appearance for Sauber in over 17 years ahead of his move for 2019, but saw his day come to an early end after an issue on his car with 50 minutes left on the clock. The Finn ended the day 11th overall, ahead only of Sean Gelael, who completed his final day of running for Toro Rosso this year.

Following yesterday’s announcement, 2019 Toro Rosso race drivers Daniil Kvyat and Alexander Albon were both in the paddock on Tuesday. Kvyat will make his first appearance for the team in over a year on Wednesday when he takes part in testing, with no running planned for Albon at present.

Esteban Ocon was also present in Abu Dhabi in Mercedes kit, having taken up the role of reserve driver at the team following his Force India exit. The Frenchman is understood to be on standby to test tomorrow should Bottas not wish to after a full programme on Tuesday.

 

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