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Mercedes and Hamilton lead the way at pre-season testing

Mercedes and Hamilton lead the way at pre-season testing



Mercedes and Hamilton lead the way at pre-season testing

Mercedes and Hamilton lead the way at pre-season testing

Reigning Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton kicked off pre-season testing with the fastest time on the opening day.

Taking over the Mercedes W11 from team-mate Valtteri Bottas for the afternoon session at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, the six-time title-holder posted a lap of one minute 16.976secs.

That deposed Bottas from the top of the teamsheet, with the Finn finishing 0.337s adrift. Hamilton's time was further impressive as it was set on the C2 hard compound, of the five made available by Pirelli, compared to the C3 medium for Bottas.

As a first-day benchmark, Hamilton's time was only 0.7s down on the quickest across the two pre-season tests at this track a year ago and 1.5s down on Bottas' pole lap from the Spanish Grand Prix last May.

Sergio Perez was third quickest for Racing Point after taking part in the morning session, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen fourth, with the Dutch driver posting a mammoth 168 laps as he spent all day in the RB16.

Verstappen, who finished just over half a second adrift of Hamilton, blotted his copybook with a spin early in the afternoon session, albeit it failed to hinder his progress.

Daniil Kvyat, slowest of the 10 drivers in the morning session for AlphaTauri, formerly Toro Rosso, improved to fifth on the timesheet to finish 0.722s down.

McLaren's Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo of Renault were the only other drivers to finish within a second of Hamilton, were sixth and seventh respectively, with the latter followed by his new team-mate for this season in Esteban Ocon.

Sainz was second on the lap count to Verstappen with 161 to his name.

Arguably, the most significant showing of the day came from George Russell in the Williams.

A year ago the Grove-based team was in disarray as it missed the first two and a half days of testing due to delays in the development of its car.

Twelve months on, Russell was the first out of the pits in the FW43, although did not set a time until an hour and three quarters into the pre-lunch four-hour session.

The Briton finished his stint with a time of 1:18.168s, significantly 0.9s quicker than in qualifying at this track last year, and covering 73 laps.

Rookie team-mate Nicolas Latifi took over the car in the afternoon and completed 63 laps, with his best almost a quarter of a second behind the Briton.

Racing Point's Lance Stroll and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc separated the two Williams drivers. The latter was forced to take over behind the wheel of the SF1000 for the day due to Sebastian Vettel pulling out of his planned running due to illness.

Vettel will drive on Thursday afternoon, with Leclerc, who finished 11th quickest, 1.3s behind Hamilton, completing his session for the week by driving in the morning.

The bottom three places were taken up by Alfa Romeo reserve Robert Kubica and Haas' Kevin Magnussen, with the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi bringing up the rear, over three seconds down.

Pre-season Testing Results – Wednesday 19 February
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG Petronas 94 Laps 1:16.976 C2
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes-AMG Petronas 79 Laps +0.337 C3
3 Sergio Perez BWT Racing Point 58 Laps +0.399 C3
4 Max Verstappen Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 167 Laps +0.540 C3
5 Daniil Kvyat Scuderia AlphaTauri 115 Laps +0.722 C2
6 Carlos Sainz McLaren 161 Laps +0.866 C3
7 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 54 Laps +0.897 C2
8 Esteban Ocon Renault 62 Laps +1.028 C3
9 George Russell ROKiT Williams 73 Laps +1.192 C3
10 Lance Stroll BWT Racing Point 50 Laps +1.306 C2
11 Charles Leclerc Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow 131 Laps +1.313 C3
12 Nicholas Latifi ROKiT Williams 63 Laps +1.406 C3
13 Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN 59 Laps +1.410 C3
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas 103 Laps +1.490 C3
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN 78 Laps +3.120 C3

C1 (Hardest)C2 (Hard)C3 (Medium)C4 (Soft)C5 (Softest)


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