MONTMELO, Spain — Racing Point’s Sergio Perez set the fastest time early on the second day of Formula One preseason testing on Thursday, with Lewis Hamilton having another solid session for Mercedes.
Hamilton led the time charts on Wednesday and had the most laps in the morning session on Thursday, though he was only seventh fastest among the 10 drivers who went to the track.
Perez was four tenths of a second ahead of Daniel Ricciardo of Renault at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit. Alexander Albon was third with Red Bull.
Perez had been third fastest on Wednesday, behind Hamilton and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton ran 106 laps on Thursday morning, 58 more than Perez.
The Mexican driver’s time was nearly a second quicker than the Day 2 time set by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc last season.
MORE: Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas fastest in Day 1 of practice
A new adjustment system introduced by Mercedes caught everyone’s attention on Thursday after on-board footage showed Hamilton pulling the steering wheel back and forth on the front straight to apparently change the angle of the front wheels.
Drivers will be back on the track on Thursday afternoon, and also on Friday to close out the first week of testing. Teams will have another three days to test next week.
Preseason testing has been reduced from eight to six days to help compensate for the record 22 races on the calendar, including a new Vietnam Grand Prix and the return of the Dutch Grand Prix. Midseason testing also has been eliminated.
The season opens on March 15 at the Australian GP.
The Barcelona-Catalunya track will host the Spanish GP on May 10.
The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.
IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.
This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.
INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists
IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.
“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.
“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.