Ferrari’s Leclerc sets fastest time of F1 preseason tests

Charles Leclerc

MONTMELO, Spain — Ferrari newcomer Charles Leclerc set the fastest lap time so far in Formula One preseason testing in northeastern Spain on Thursday.

His lap of 1 minute, 16.231 seconds was only 0.05 seconds short of the track record for the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit set by Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for last season’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The 21-year-old Leclerc was 20 minutes away from completing a trouble-free session when his Ferrari came to a stop on a straightaway.

His 138 laps were second to Williams rookie George Russell, who led the field with 140 laps on the day.

Defending champion Hamilton had another mundane session, clocking the 10th-fastest time while sharing the wheel with Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Testing concludes on Friday.