Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany steers his car during Pirelli F1 testing in Abu Dhabion Tuesday, November 27, 2018. Image Credit: AP

Abu Dhabi: Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time on the first day of testing at the Yas Marina Circuit on Tuesday.

Vettel’s fastest time, 1:36.812, was over two seconds slower than the pole position time of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but it was still good enough to giving him a 0.419secs advantage over Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, who led the testing in the morning session.

Lance Stroll, who made his appearance for Force India despite no official confirmation that he will be driving for them in 2019, was third fastest.

Stroll’s chances of driving for Force India had brightened ever since his father, Lawrence, acquired the squad in the summer. He had lost place to Kubica in the Williams Team. The time of 1:37.415 was good enough to put them ahead of Red Bull in the final standings.

Max Verstappen was fourth with a fastest time of 1:37.947 after 133 laps followed by Sergio Perez of Force India with 1:37.976 over 67 laps.

Lando Norris, who will be making his F1 debut in 2019, was the sixth fastest for McLaren with 1:38.187 after 136 laps.

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was in the top five — 1.558 off pace from Bottas in the morning session but finished the day on seventh spot with 1:38.789 after 128 laps.

After retiring from his 151st and final race for Ferrari, Raikkonen was in a Sauber car for the first time since his debut in 2001.

He, who teams up with Antonio Giovinazzi for 2019, tested Pirelli’s tyres and was ninth with 1:40.832 in the morning and ended the day at 11th spot with 1:39.878 after 102 laps. Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi of Haas bettered his timing in the afternoon. The 22-year-old is the grandson of double world champion Emerson Fittipaldi was eighth with 1:39.201 after 55 laps.

Newly crowned F2 champion George Russell of Briton, in his first running for Williams, was sharing the test duties with teammate Robert Kubica. Russell’s timing of 1:39.512 after 42 laps placed him 10th behind Kubica who clocked 1:39.269 in 32 laps.