Mercedes took the lead in the hands of George Russell during the final dry running session in Barcelona on Friday as the morning session was overshadowed by no fewer than five red flags.

Mercedes driver George Russell set the fastest time of the three-day Barcelona pre-season test so far with a time of 1’19.223 on the C5 Pirelli tyres, the softest compounds available, covering another 66 laps. In the Red Bull RB18, Max Verstappen produced his fastest time that was slightly over half a second slower than the benchmark time.

Max Verstappen, the reigning world champion, finished second fastest in the morning practice with a timing of 1m19.756 on the C3 compound.

While the previous two days of the Barcelona shakedown testing went off without a hitch, today’s last morning was disrupted five times, preventing the teams from working uninterrupted.

Alpine had a great start to the day as Fernando Alonso was leading the session early on, but the Spaniard retired after only 12 laps. The team has stated that the issue occurred with the car’s hydraulics, and that the team would not be able to run the A522 again today.

Sebastian Vettel finished the third fastest on the softest Pirelli compound this morning despite a low-key start to the shakedown testing yesterday. The Aston Martin driver completed 48 laps before stopping with about five minutes remaining as his AMR22 caught fire in the third sector of the Catalunya circuit.

Charles Leclerc pushed the Ferrari F1-75 to finish fourth on having completed 44 laps in total, the fastest of which was 1m19.831s. Surprisingly, Williams worked with both of its drivers in the morning, which is unusual given the difficulty and time involved in setting up a car for a specific driver. Nicholas Latifi was fifth fastest with the C4 compound, while Alexander Albon, his new teammate, was tenth.

Pierre Gasly spun his AlphaTauri AT03 in turn five, bringing out a second red flag and ending his practice early with just over an hour to play. After 40 laps, he finished tenth in the morning’s times.

Guanyu Zhou’s Alfa Romeo had a rough practice, spinning into the gravel and bringing out the red flags. The rookie was able to rejoin the track once his car was recovered, but he soon crashed out on the circuit, halting the race once more.

On the other hand, Haas was concerned about reliability as Nikita Mazepin, the team’s Russian driver, only completed nine laps owing to a “suspected leak,” according to the American team.

2022 F1 PRE-SEASON TESTING BARCELONA DAY 3 MORNING SESSION LAP TIMES

 
POSDRIVERNAT.TEAMTIMELAPS
1George RussellGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1m19.233s66
2Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing1m19.756s59
3Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m19.824s48
4Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1m19.831s44
5Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1m20.699s5
6Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1m20.827s52
7Fernando AlonsoESPBWT Alpine F1 Team1m21.242s12
8Guanyu ZhouCHNAlfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen1m21.939s41
9Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri1m22.469s40
10Alexander AlbonTHAWilliams Racing1m22.652s21
11Nikita MazepinRUSUralkali Haas F1 Team1m26.229s9
12Valtteri BottasFINAlfa Romeo F1 Team OrlenNo Time Set0
13Sergio PerezMEXOracle Bull RacingNo Time Set0
14Mick SchumacherGERUralkali Haas F1 TeamNo Time Set0
15Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One TeamNo Time Set0
16Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 TeamNo Time Set0
17Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 TeamNo Time Set0
18Yuki TsunodaJPNScuderia AlphaTauriNo Time Set0
19Carlos SainzESPScuderia FerrariNo Time Set0
20Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One TeamNo Time Set0

Full F1 driver line-up for Day 3 of Barcelona test:

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