Valtteri Bottas has gone fastest for Mercedes in the opening session of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona.
Valtteri Bottas has gone quickest in the first session at pre-season testing in Barcelona. The Finn put in a clockwork opening morning for Mercedes as he popped in a quickest time of 1:17.709 on the Medium compound tyre to pip the Racing Point of Sergio Perez. Bottas did 79 laps in the morning, and will hand over to Lewis Hamilton in the afternoon.
The new look RP20, which bears more than a passing resemblance to last year’s Mercedes W10, was just 0.062 off the pace shown by Bottas, with Perez doing 58 laps. Max Verstappen was P3 for Red Bull Racing with 91 laps done.
The Dutch driver did his best time on the Hard compound, producing a 1:17.787.
Carlos Sainz was P4 for McLaren, almost seven tenths from Bottas’ time as he did a 1:18.001.
Esteban Ocon was at the wheel of the striking new Renault. Fresh from the team’s filming day on Monday, the Frenchman continued driving the RS20. Running in an all black testing livery, the new car features a very slim front nose, and the initial pace also appeared encouraging as Ocon popped in a 1:18.004 on the Medium compound.
George Russell set about banishing Williams’ 2019 woes and did a 1:18.168 on the Soft compound tyre – almost a second quicker than anything Williams managed over the Grand Prix weekend in Spain last season. The FW43 proved reliable too, as he did 73 laps without issue over the morning.
Charles Leclerc was driving the Ferrari SF1000, despite Sebastian Vettel being scheduled to do so. The German driver is reportedly ill, so Leclerc was swapped into the cockpit. His best time was 1:18.289, and he did 64 laps.
Robert Kubica was given first testing duties for Alfa Romeo. Fresh off the launch of the new car just before the pitlane opened, the Polish driver did a best time of 1:18.386 on the Soft tyre and a total of 59 laps.
Kevin Magnussen was P9 for Haas, with Daniil Kvyat rounding out the order. Surprisingly, for the opening morning of testing, there were no on-track breakdowns, with the closest testing came to a stoppage being a brief stall for Daniil Kvyat in the pitlane.
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