Abu Dhabi F1 Test: Ferrari's Charles Leclerc defeats the benchmark Vettel – F1



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Charles Leclerc began life as a Ferrari Formula 1 racer by beating Tuesday's benchmark Sebastian Vettel and topping times as the second day of testing began in Abu Dhabi.

Monegasque is preparing for his graduation at Ferrari in 2019 after ending the rookie season with Sauber at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last weekend.

Leclerc has driven Ferrari before, including running at Monza earlier this year, but predicting its first test as an official racer will be an "emotional" and "special" experience.

He kicked him by setting the fastest time in all four opening hours on Wednesday, which will continue for five hours until 6pm local time.

Leclerc moved to the peak of time in the second hour with a lap of 1m36,938s, then shaved two hundredths of that later in the morning, leaving him just over a tenth slower than his team's benchmark Vettel 2019 on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old then went faster shortly after midday, setting a time of 1m36,559s – almost three-tenths of the best Vettel.

Like Leclerc, Pierre Gasly has increasingly liked one of the three big F1 teams currently on the test when he appeared for Red Bull ahead of step 2019 himself.

Gasly, the last to drive Red Bull in testing in August 2017, set the second fastest time, 1.4 seconds slower than Leclerc after its own repair at the fourth hour.

Unknown but expected Indian Racing Force drivers, Lance Stroll reappeared for the team after wearing pink for the first time on Tuesday.

Walk the third best time, join the top two in improving after midday and cut only 0.07 slower than Gasly.

Bottt Valtteri continued for the second day of testing at Mercedes and the fourth fastest after the first four hours.

Daniil Kvyat returned behind the wheel of Toro Rosso for the first time since being dropped after the 2017 US Grand Prix.

Russia which was recalled completed the top five, 2.3 seconds slower than Leclerc.

His compatriot Artem Markelov was next for Renault, while Louis Deletraz made an F1 test bow with Haas to run the seventh fastest with the best time of 1m40,153 set in the second hour.

That made him get two tenths of McLaren's new man Carlos Sainz Jr., taking part in his inaugural party with the Woking team.

Antonio Giovinazzi took over from Kimi Raikkonen in Sauber and became the eighth fastest, ahead of Renault's Artem Markelov.

Robert Kubica reappeared for Williams but did not represent the time in the morning. He will submit to his 2019 teammate George Russell for the rest of the day.

Mid session time

Post Driver Team Car Time Gap Lap
1 Charles Leclerc Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 1m36,559s 54
2 Pierre Gasly Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Red Bull / Renault 1m37,976s 1,417s 63
3 Lance Stroll India F1 Racing Team Force Team Indian Forces / Mercedes 1m38,044s 1,485s 47
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport Mercedes 1m38,590s 2,031s 78
5 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda Toro Rosso / Honda 1m38,862s 2,303s 52
6 Artem Markelov The Formula One Renault Sport Team Renault 1m39.240s 2,681s 47
7 Louis Deletraz Haas F1 Team Haas / Ferrari 1m40.154s 3.595 seconds 51
8 Carlos Sainz McLaren F1 Team McLaren / Renault 1m40,383s 3,824s 59
9 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Sauber / Ferrari 1m40.435s 3,876s 41
10 Robert Kubica Williams Martini Racing Williams / Mercedes 1m44.208s 7.649s 39

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