F1 Testing: Bottas fastest on busy first morning in Barcelona

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Mercedes have started as they mean to go on with Valtteri Bottas topping the times on the first morning of Formula 1 testing.

The Finn would set a 1m17.313s on the C3 Pirelli tyres, already eight-tenths faster than the best time set by Sebastian Vettel on Day 1 last year.

With only six days on running before the opening race in Australia, teams have wasted little time in getting plenty of laps on the board.

In the first four hours alone, Max Verstappen has already completed 92 laps in the new Red Bull RB16, with Bottas second with 78 in the W11.

Another team off to a fast start is Racing Point, with Sergio Perez less than a tenth slower than the Mercedes in second.

The new RP20 made its public debut on Wednesday, and perhaps it's no surprise that a car which features many similarities to last year's Silver Arrow is showing good pace early on.

 

Already, a battle between McLaren and engine supplier Renault is brewing with Carlos Sainz finishing four-thousandths faster than Esteban Ocon in fourth and fifth.

One team already showing good progress is Williams who, after missing the first two days of running last year, were first on track this year as George Russell waited for the light to go green.

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The Briton also showed decent pace in sixth, matching the fastest time he achieved in the whole of pre-season testing in 2019, he was the only driver to use the C4 compound tyre, however.

Ferrari has made a steady start with Charles Leclerc stepping in for the whole day after Sebastian Vettel pulled out due to illness.

The Monegasque would complete 64 laps in the SF1000 and be seventh fastest as the Italian team opted not to repeat the push for lap-times which created so much hype last year.

Robert Kubica followed in eight in his new role as test driver at Alfa Romeo, Kevin Magnussen was ninth for Haas and Daniil Kvyat completed the top 10 in the AlphaTauri.

Highlighting the reliability of today's cars, there was not a single red flag during the morning and Magnussen had the lowest lap total with 52, just 14 short of a full Spanish Grand Prix distance.

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