F1 Testing: Hamilton jumps clear as Mercedes lead Day 1 in Spain

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It's a new Formula 1 season but the same old story at the front as Mercedes led the way on Day 1 of pre-season testing.

After Valtteri Bottas went fastest in the morning, his world champion teammate Lewis Hamilton went out and beat the Finn, posting an impressive 1m16.976s to finish a third of a second clear.

More worryingly for Mercedes' rivals, that time came on the C2 Pirelli tyres, the second hardest in the range, and there was scope for Hamilton to go faster as well, as he backed off in the final sector after going quicker in the first two.

The Brackley-based team also led the lap count, with their two drivers teaming up for 173 laps of the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya, putting them five ahead of Max Verstappen, who had led that statistic for most of the day.

Equally remarkable on Wednesday was that every team surpassed the 100-lap barrier with Haas bringing the rear with a measly 105, something like that is practically unheard of in F1 with the day not seeing a single red flag period.

Apart from Hamilton, the order at the top didn't change much with Bottas second ahead of Perez in the Racing Point.

Verstappen would fractionally improve his best time to a 1m17.516s in the Red Bull, but still 0.6s down on the pacesetting Mercedes using the softer C3 compound.

The Dutchman though did have two spins during the afternoon, both coming at Turn 13 before the final chicane.

Having been slowest in the morning, Daniil Kvyat moved up to fifth in the afternoon for AlphaTauri, ahead of Carlos Sainz for McLaren.

Daniel Ricciardo pipped new Renault teammate Esteban Ocon into seventh but used C2 tyres for his best compared to the Frenchman on C3.

George Russell's morning best kept him in the top 10 in ninth for Williams, as Lance Stroll followed in 10th after his afternoon in the Racing Point.

One team not mentioned yet is Ferrari after Charles Leclerc had a subdued day filling in for the unwell Sebastian Vettel.

The Monegasque ended the day 11th fastest overall and the Italian team was seen inspecting under the engine cover on several occasions, suggesting not all was perfect in the SF1000.

Leclerc would still manage a solid 131 laps however, so whatever it was, it didn't hold him back.

F1's only rookie in 2020, Nicholas Latifi, was 12th as he stepped in at Williams for the afternoon.

The Canadian's laps, in addition to Russell's, meant the Grove-based team also surpassed their four-day total for the first week of testing last year.

At the back, Alfa Romeo and Haas brought up the times with Robert Kubica 13th and Antonio Giovinazzi bottom by over 1.5s in 15th.

Kevin Magnussen found himself the meat in the Italian-Swiss sandwich in 14th for Haas.

Full times and lap counts from Day 1 in Barcelona can be seen below:

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