MONTMELO, Spain -- Daniel Ricciardo set a new Circuit de Catalunya lap record on the sixth day of pre-season testing, which also saw McLaren suffer another setback.
Ricciardo's 1:18.047 was the quickest time of testing so far, surpassing the previous track record of 1:18.339 set by Felipe Massa during testing in 2008. It was also over a second quicker than Lewis Hamilton's pole position time for last year's Spanish Grand Prix, held at the same circuit, showing the combined benefit of the circuit's new tarmac, the natural developments of the cars and Pirelli's new compounds.
As well as posting the quickest time, Ricciardo also posted the highest individual lap tally, finishing his productive Wednesday with 165 laps. Reigning world champions Mercedes surpassed that over the day, albeit by splitting duties between Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas for a combined 172, although Renault led the way with the 190 completed by Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg.
For the second day in a row, McLaren found itself at the opposite end of the mileage chart. The Woking-based team made a good start and quickly accumulated 47 laps, only for Fernando Alonso to park the car mid-way through the morning after encountering a problem. An oil leak was to blame and, although it was not engine related, McLaren made the decision to change the power unit.
"This is not engine related," McLaren racing director Eric Boullier explained. "This is a small oil leak we had to the car which unfortunately meant the engine died, so we have to change the engine now. They want to obviously inspect the engine before putting some more miles on it. It's going to be another three hours."
Three hours soon turned into six and a half, with Alonso only emerging from the garage 13 minutes from the end of the day. Despite Alonso adding seven laps to his name before the chequered flag, the team is still shy of reaching triple figures in terms of combined mileage for this week's second test.
Mercedes pair Hamilton and Bottas were the only drivers to finish within a second of Ricciardo's headline time. Hamilton was 0.353s behind Ricciardo on the ultra-soft tyre, though Pirelli expects the teams to dip into the high 1:17s by the end of this test.
Ferrari enjoyed a productive day without venturing on to the tyres at the softer end of Pirelli's range, focusing instead on longer stints on the medium and soft compound tyres. The Italian team finished the day with 102 laps after Sebastian Vettel took over for the unwell Kimi Raikkonen in the morning before the 2007 world champion returned to the cockpit for the afternoon. The lack of running on the softest tyres means Ferrari is yet to hint at the true performance of the SF71-H, although it has the two remaining days to do so.
Fifth-placed Brendon Hartley managed to tick off 116 laps of his own on his first day back in the Toro Rosso since last Tuesday, when pre-season began. He climbed up the order in the closing 10 minutes on the hyper-soft tyre. The Kiwi had a small spin before lunch and had his car stopped at the end of the pit-lane in the afternoon due to an electrical shutdown, but neither significantly hampered his running.
Renault's Sainz finished seventh below Alonso's morning time as he continued to split duties with teammate Hulkenberg. The French manufacturer's factory team has been quietly accumulating the mileage over testing.
An oil leak prevented Haas from completing many laps after lunch. The American team had hoped to complete a full race simulation in the afternoon before detecting the issue, restricting Romain Grosjean to 75 laps overall.
Williams also suffered a pit-lane stoppage, with Russian rookie Sergey Sirotkin grinding to a halt outside the Red Bull garage after lunch. That delayed the team for just over an hour, allowing Sirotkin to finish a 77-lap day, adding to the 63 compiled by Lance Stroll in the morning. With development driver Robert Kubica scheduled to share duties with both regular drivers in the next two days, Williams will look to continue its good mileage.
Esteban Ocon had a busy day, finishing 130 laps in the pink Force India. Reigning Formula 2 champion and Sauber rookie Charles Leclerc was another who compiled a healthy individual stint, although his day ended in the gravel trap at Turn 12 after spinning out in the final ten minutes.
Times at close:
1. Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:18.047, 165 laps (Hyper-soft)
2. Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:18.400, 90 laps (Ultra-soft)
3. Bottas, Mercedes, 1:18.560, 85 laps (Ultra-soft)
4. Vettel, Ferrari, 1:19.541, 66 laps (Soft)
5. Hartley, Toro Rosso, 1:19.823, 119 laps (Hyper-soft)
6. Alonso, McLaren, 1:19.856, 57 laps (Hyper-soft)
7. Sainz, Renault, 1:20.042, 88 laps (Medium)
8. Grosjean, Haas, 1:20.237, 78 laps (Soft)
9. Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:20.242, 49 lap (Soft)
10. Stroll, Williams, 1:20.349, 63 laps (Soft)
11. Hulkenberg, Renault, 1:20.758, 102 laps (Super-soft)
12. Ocon, Force India, 1:20.805, 130 laps (Soft)
13. Leclerc, Sauber, 1:20.918, 160 laps (Super-soft)
14. Sirotkin, Williams, 1:22.350, 80 laps (Soft)