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Formula 1

Mercedes ends first week of testing fastest

by Matt Beer
2 min read

Mercedes set the fastest time with Lewis Hamilton as this week’s Formula 1 test at Barcelona concluded, while Valtteri Bottas’s morning benchmark remained the best time of the day.

Hamilton took over the W11 from Bottas and undertook a range of running, hindered slightly by Kevin Magnussen’s puncture-initiated crash and red flag just half an hour into the afternoon session.

Like Bottas in the morning, Hamilton piloted the Mercedes fitted with both the C4 and then the C5 tyres, the second softest and softest available respectively.

While Hamilton’s lap on the C4 tyre was competitive and good enough for second, he botched his run on the C5 in sector three, ending the day 0.784s adrift of his team-mate on the last day of the test with 73 laps.

Behind Hamilton, Renault’s Esteban Ocon, Lance Stroll’s Racing Point and AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat’s morning times stood as they filled up the order from third to fifth.

Stroll was the only one of the trio to appear in the afternoon, for Racing Point, and chalked up 116 laps on some longer runs on the C2 tyre, the second hardest.

Antonio Giovinazzi jumped up to sixth in the afternoon running, building on his morning running.

The Alfa Romeo driver banked the most laps by any one driver over the day with 152, running on a wide range of the Pirelli compounds available.

Daniel Ricciardo took over the Renault from Ocon after a strong morning in terms of pace and laps covered. But it looked like Ricciardo’s day would end early when he ground to a halt at the entrance to Turn 9 with 28 minutes to go.

However, he returned, and netted a lap of 1m17.574s on the C4 tyre, the second softest, jumping from 14th to seventh and counting 93 laps completed.

Max Verstappen Red Bull F1 testing Barcelona 2020

Max Verstappen’s morning time was good enough for eighth fastest, one spot ahead of his team-mate Alex Albon who took over the Red Bull RB16 in the afternoon.

Red Bull prioritised running on the second hardest tyre, the C2, on Friday, causing its lack of a headline time on Friday.

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly took over from Kvyat and failed to match his team-mate’s fifth fastest time, but did 56 tours and 10th fastest overall just behind the two Red Bulls.

Carlos Sainz of McLaren and the Haas of Romain Grosjean took 11th and 12th respectively with their morning times.

Sebastian Vettel returned to action after an engine problem limited him to 40 laps earlier in the day and robbed him of two hours of running. He ended the day with 100 laps, ending a subdued test for Ferrari with 13th.

McLaren was late to get Lando Norris out with an hour seeping away at the start of the session, and the team had to change his brakes. He did get on track following that dead hour, and set the 14th fastest time while ticking off 49 laps.

Nicholas Latifi got some running in the second half of the session after a power unit issue put paid to his morning running. He netted 72 laps and 15th.

Magnussen sealed the order following his Turn 5 puncture, concluding a disappointing test for Haas.

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