Pre-season Day 3 Morning Report: Leclerc leads the way

Pre-season Day 3 Morning Report: Leclerc leads the way

The last morning session of the 2023 pre-season testing came to an end. Here's what happened and what you need to know.

The drivers

These are the drivers that participated in the morning session.

Team Driver
Alfa Romeo F1 Team Valtteri Bottas
Aston Martin F1 Team Felipe Drugovic
BWT Alpine F1 Team Pierre Gasly
McLaren F1 Team Oscar Piastri
Mercedes F1 Team George Russell
Moneygram Haas F1 Team Nico Hulkenberg
Oracle Red Bull Racing Sergio Perez
Scuderia AlphaTauri Nyck De Vries
Scuderia Ferrari Charles Leclerc
Williams Racing Alexander Albon

The recap

Charles Leclerc set the fastest time of the morning session on day 3. He used the C4 tire and stopped the clock at 1:31.024. George Russell was second with a 1:31.442 (C5). Felipe Drugovic completed the top three with a 1:32.075 (C5). Sergio Perez was fourth with a 1:32.459 (C3).

The driver with the most laps was Nyck De Vries (87), while the least laps were completed by Oscar Piastri (44).

The session was stopped almost immediately due to a red flag as Perez's car lost a piece of bodywork which ended up in the middle of the track.

Ferrari also had a minor problem as the SF23's DRS did not work properly. The team had to change the rear wing completely.

Oscar Piastri almost crashed his McLaren between turn 9 and 10 as he lost control of the car and spun. Luckily for him, he managed to stop before hitting the wall.

Ferrari, Mercedes, and Aston Martin were the only teams to set some fastest times with the C4 and C5 tires. Then, they focused on race pace simulation, just like every other team did during the morning.

Ferrari showed a lot of tire degradation during its race pace simulation, especially on the rear, while Perez seemed very consistent and competitive.

Mercedes seemed to have made a race weekend simulation with Russell. The Brit did three flying laps (probably simulating Q1, Q2, and Q3). After that, he warmed up the tires, did a race start simulation, and he then went on to simulate the race pace.

With one hour and twenty minutes to go, the session was red flagged again as Valtteri Bottas stopped on the track at turn 8. Bottas said that he lost drive, and he was stuck in fifth gear.

What they're saying

  • Günther Steiner, Haas team principal: "Our aim is to improve from last year, of course. The goal is to reach P6 or P7 in the standings, but the midfield is very tight. I think the fight will be difficult at every race this season."
  • Simone Resta, Haas technical director: "Our objective was to run [the car] as much as possible, put mileage on the car, test the reliability [and] we will run lighter fuel in the afternoon and try to be ready for the first race. I guess it is a very positive start. There is a lot of good mood in the car and with the engineers. We are enjoying working with Nico [Hulkenberg], and with Kevin [Magnussen]. Everyone is in a good mood... I suppose it would be nice to be in the middle fighting for points, that would be a good objective."
  • Logan Sargeant, Williams: "It's been a pleasure to drive the last few days. We are still chasing some things, trying to find some answers, but it's been going very well. I feel like I'm in a really relaxed place, I feel super at home with the team, going through the motions of the car and that's all I can ask for and looking forward to race one. I think the amount of work I put in the off-season has really showed. Physically, I wouldn't have been able to do [those laps before]. A lot of hours in the gym. Physically, I feel 100% today, and that gives me confidence going into the season."

Testing will continue with the afternoon session and we'll bring you the following report after it. Stay tuned for technical analysis for subscribed members shortly.

Written by Davide Bini.