Bottas leads Mercedes 1-2 as first F1 2020 test ends
Valtteri Bottas ended the first week of Formula 1 pre-season testing quickest overall, completing a Mercedes 1-2 on the timesheets as his morning 1m15.732s lap proved unassailable.
During the first half of the day, Bottas hustled his C5-shod Mercedes to a time just three tenths shy of his pole time in qualifying last year, cementing a particularly ominous Mercedes advantage.
Lewis Hamilton took the reins of the W11 for the afternoon and, while his best effort was also set on the softest tyre in Pirelli’s range, the six-time champion was 0.784s off his teammate's benchmark.
The afternoon session added two further red flags to the morning’s tally of interruptions, and was paused just after half an hour of running when Kevin Magnussen took a trip to the wall at Turn 8.
Magnussen, having suffered a right-rear issue on only his fifth lap of the day, spun on the exit of the Barcelona circuit’s seventh corner and ended up in the subsequent wall. With too much presumed damage, the Haas driver did not return for the rest of the afternoon.
Daniel Ricciardo prompted the second red-flag period, stopping on the circuit on the run up to Turn 9 – Campsa – with an unspecified problem. Renault was able to get Ricciardo back out for the final hour of running, although the Australian’s particularly long run had been interrupted by the stoppage.
Ricciardo’s teammate Esteban Ocon completed the day third, as his morning time on the C4 tyre was beaten only by Hamilton in the afternoon’s running, but was ultimately 1.3s behind Bottas’s early pace.
Ocon and Ricciardo logged a total of 169 laps for Renault, the team’s highest total during the opening week of testing.
Lance Stroll continued to underline Racing Point’s impressive pace with a 1m17.338s - also on C4 tyres - completing 116 laps through the day, although his afternoon was dedicated to longer runs.
AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat was the next quickest, his best time also set on the C4 tyres, heading Antonio Giovinazzi – who was the most-travelled driver of the day, having done 152 laps of the circuit.
Ricciardo beat Max Verstappen’s best lap late on in the session, recovering from his stoppage and a late spin to sit seventh-fastest - with his best time on the C3 rubber.
Gasly and Albon, taking over the AlphaTauri and Red Bull respectively for the afternoon session, completed the top 10.
Sebastian Vettel overcame his morning halt to set 100 laps, albeit 13th-fastest, as Ferrari replaced his engine for the afternoon session.
Williams’ Nicholas Latifi also triggered a red flag during the first part of running, as his team detected an engine issue.
The Canadian received a new power unit for the afternoon, and he managed to complete 72 laps overall, half a second down on Lando Norris – who was conducting long runs on C1 tyres.
Magnussen, after spinning out, remained rooted to the bottom of the timesheets.
Day 3 results
|4||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||Mercedes||1:17.338||116|
|6||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||Ferrari||1:17.469||152|
|8||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||Honda||1:17.636||86|
|10||Alexander Albon||Red Bull||Honda||1:18.154||83|
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