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McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo drives during the Formula One pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Montmelo, Barcelona province. Image Credit: AFP

Barcelona: McLaren continued to show its strength in Formula One preseason testing yesterday as Daniel Ricciardo followed Lando Norris’ success a day earlier and was fastest in the morning session. Ferrari stayed close, as it did at the end of the first day on Wednesday, with Carlos Sainz second fastest.

The session was red-flagged because of an apparent gearbox issue to the Red Bull of Sergio Perez, who ended with the eighth fastest time.

Teammate Max Verstappen, the F1 champion, had no reliability problems on Wednesday and finished the day with the most laps among all drivers.

Lewis Hamilton, who lost the title to Verstappen on the last lap of the last race in 2021, didn’t return to the track with his Mercedes after Perez’s red flag, finishing ninth fastest.

Third fastest

Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly was third fastest in the morning, ahead of Alex Albon of Williams and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, Vettel’s teammate.

Rookie Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese driver in F1, made his testing debut with Alfa Romeo in the afternoon session at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit. The team has struggled and teammate Valtteri Bottas couldn’t manage many laps in the morning on Thursday.

F1 has a new generation of cars after major regulations changes to try to improve racing and make the series more competitive. New aerodynamic and tire requirements are in place to hopefully allow drivers to race closer together and create more overtaking.