Bottas fastest on testing day one as Ocon returns to F1 action

Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Valtteri Bottas has gone fastest for Mercedes on the first day of the two day Pirelli tyre test at Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi.

Click here for the complete results from Testing – Abu Dhabi Pirelli Test (Day One)

Following on from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix over the weekend, the teams all stayed behind at Yas Marina in order to carry out two days of tyre testing on behalf of Pirelli.

Each team has been given ten sets of tyres for the two days, meaning twenty sets in total. These are a mixture of 2019 and 2020 tyre compounds, allowing for the teams and Pirelli to carry out back to back comparisons. Twelve of the twenty sets per team have been chosen by Pirelli, with the remaining eight sets chosen by each team for themselves.

At the end of the first day, there were no unusual names at the top – Valtteri Bottas completed the day as fastest man as he clocked a 1:37.124 during the afternoon. His time was set on the 2019 C4 compound and the Mercedes man did a total of 140 laps over the course of the day. This was his last day of duty in the W10, as he hands over the Mercedes to George Russell for Wednesday’s testing and the Finn gets to go start his winter break.

Sebastian Vettel, who had briefly topped the times before Bottas took it away from him, finished P2 and 0.8 seconds down on the Mercedes. Vettel had an interesting day at the wheel, having had technical issues during the morning which curtailed his track time for a while, before a late spin in the afternoon when he was tagged by Racing Point’s Sergio Perez at the end of the back straight. His best time was set  on the new C5 compound. Like Bottas, Vettel’s 2019 concludes with this session, as Charles Leclerc will drive the SF90 on Wednesday.

Daniil Kvyat finished P3 for Toro Rosso as he signed off for 2019. The Russian did 72 laps after taking over from Sean Gelael for the afternoon. Kvyat’s best time was also set on the new C5 compound. Sergio Perez was P4, also enjoying the new prototype C5, ahead of Haas’ Romain Grosjean. Lando Norris was P6 for McLaren.

Max Verstappen finished a low-key P7 for Red Bull Racing, but Pirelli’s test data showed his best time was set on the new C3 compound – explaining why he didn’t show as much pace as those on the C5 compound.

The day was notable for the return of Esteban Ocon to official Formula 1 duties. The Frenchman, who is still under contract with Mercedes until the end of the calendar year, turned out in blank overalls to join his new Renault team as he replaces Nico Hulkenberg for 2020. Mercedes allowed him to join Renault early, meaning he will drive the RS19 for the two days this week. Ocon completed the day in P8, with a best time of 1:39.962, some 2.8 seconds off Bottas’ time, and a total of 77 laps on the board for the first day of testing.

While Ocon made his return to active Formula 1 duty, another driver had the chance to return to a racing car. Williams handed over their FW42 to Roy Nissany for the afternoon testing session, with the 25 year Israeli having sat out the 2019 season of motorsport. He last raced with Campos in Formula 2 in 2018. Adjusting to the FW42 during the afternoon, he unsurprisingly finished at the bottom of the timesheets and some three seconds behind the next slowest driver.

  1. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:37.124 138 Laps (C4 2019)
  2. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:37.991 136 Laps (C5 2020)
  3. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:38.183 72 Laps (C5 2020)
  4. Sergio Perez Racing Point 1:38.434 120 Laps (C5 2020)
  5. Romain Grosjean Haas 1:39.526 146 Laps (C5 2020)
  6. Lando Norris McLaren 1:39.741 125 Laps (C5 2020)
  7. Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:39.926 153 Laps (C3 2020)
  8. Esteban Ocon Renault 1:39.962 77 Laps (C4 2020)
  9. George Russell Williams 1:40.368 87 Laps (C5 2020)
  10. Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1:40.903 93 Laps (C4 2019)
  11. Sean Gelael Toro Rosso 1:41.640 67 Laps (C4 2020)
  12. Roy Nissany Williams 1:44.760 41 Laps (C3 2020)

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Thomas Maher

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