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Bottas quickest as Alfa’s Ilott unhurt in testing crash – Spanish Test Day 1 Report

Barcelona, Spain

Valtteri Bottas ended the first day of the final in-season test as the quickest man, while there was relief at Alfa Romeo as Callum Ilott walked away from a heavy crash at Turn 3.

Just two days on from the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya, the F1 teams descended upon the track again for two days of testing. This is the final official F1 testing for 2019, with the first in-season test taking place after the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas ended the day quickest for Mercedes. The Finn put in a 1:15.511 on the C5 tyres to all but match his pole position time from Saturday. However, his pole time was set on the C4 (Soft) compound. Bottas had been quickest in the morning session as well, but lowered the benchmark during the afternoon session.

The session was marred by a length red flag period to cover a crash for Alfa Romeo’s Callum Ilott. The British driver, part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, was at the wheel of the C38 for Tuesday’s track time but went off at Turn 3 and hit the barriers hard. This was essentially in the same location as where Sebastian Vettel had his big testing crash for Ferrari during pre-season testing.

The British driver was uninjured, but the car was heavily damaged. Once back in the pits, the car was put behind garage screens, with Alfa missing the rest of the day.

Bottas’ afternoon laptime kept him well ahead of the rest, and he racked up 131 laps by the end of the day. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc finished P2 with a best time of 1:16.933, with 132 laps on the board. Daniil Kvyat was third for Toro Rosso. The Russian’ best lap was 1:17.679 and he did almost two race distances as he racked up 121 laps.

Nico Hulkenberg finished P4, albeit with a relatively low lap count. The Renault driver did just 68 trips around the track, and did a best time of 1:18.051.

Fifth went to Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly, who broke down on the pit straight during the afternoon. He finished with a best time of 1:18.140 and 118 laps done.

Carlos Sainz was P6 for McLaren, completing 64 laps during the morning session before handing over to his teammate Lando Norris. The British driver did 44 laps during the afternoon and finished P10 but was another breakdown as he came to a stop just outside the pit exit.

Pietro Fittipaldi was P7 for Haas, on a day where title sponsor Rich Energy lost their court case regarding the copyright of their logo. Fittipaldi did 103 laps and a best time of 1:18.326.

Nick Yelloly, making his F1 testing debut with Racing Point as their young driver, did 111 laps and finished P8.

Sebastian Vettel, driving his Ferrari on behalf of Pirelli’s testing programme, was P9 as he spent the day testing prototype tyre compounds. He did 133 laps, adding to the other Pirelli car’s tally of 96 – a second Racing Point driven by Sergio Perez in P11.

Ilott finished P12 in the timesheets at the end of his first day, while Nicholas Latifi rounded out the order with a best time of 1:20.670 for Williams.

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Thomas Maher

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