Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull set a new Circuit de Catalunya track record in Barcelona during the sixth day of Formula One pre-season tests sessions to command the lead. Ricciardo went faster than anyone else as Formula One started the test sessions. Ricciardo's RB14 set a record time of 1:18.047 hitting the track shortly after 13:00 with the hyper-soft tire which is the latest and softest compound in Pirelli's range. That beat Felipe Massa's 2008 former record of 1:18.339 using 2009-spec slick tires and left Ricciardo 0.3 up on the fastest time of ruling world champion Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes, who set his time on ultra-soft.
Although Alonso was capturing early headlines after returning to his home track, he became the primary focus when the right wheel of his car came off. Ricciardo was the only driver to complete 103 laps of Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya on a day that began sunny but ended rainy with falling temperatures. Ricciardo and the Red Bull team uses the same Renault engines as McLaren even though they are branded Tag Heuer. He set his quickest lap in the morning session.
Despite winning three races, Red Bull had a slow start last year and they had to play catch up, but this season they launched their new car a week ahead than before and hit the ground running. The test was the first since the introduction of the compulsory ‘halo’ head protection system, and the racers gave a positive feedback about visibility.
Mercedes Valtteri Bottas was the second fastest completing 58 laps with a time that was two tenths off Ricciardo’s before handing it over to four times world champion team partner Lewis Hamilton. All the drivers were upbeat that they were gearing up for an exciting season.