Bottas leads Mercedes 1-2 on final day of first test

Valtteri Bottas lead a Mercedes 1-2 on the final day of the first pre-season test, posting the fastest lap of any driver across the three days.

Bottas posted his time of a 1m 15.732 in the morning session on Pirelli’s C5 tyre, the softest available. His team-mate Lewis Hamilton also set his fastest lap on that tyre, but wound up almost eight tenths behind in P2.

Both drivers completed over a Grand Prix’s worth of laps each – 65 for Bottas and 73 for Hamilton – underlining the reliability and solid pace shown by the team across the three days of the first test.

In third, and +1.3s off Bottas’s pace, was the Renault of Esteban Ocon. He was followed by Lance Stroll, who completed 116 laps, with Daniil Kvyat rounding out the top five.

Antonio Giovinazzi completed the most laps by a single driver with 116 and wound up in P6 ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who caused one of the day’s four red flags when he stopped on track on approach to Turn 9. Ricciardo was back out on track for the final hour of running, where a late surge moved him above former team-mate Max Verstappen, who had another solid day and finished P8 on 86 laps.

Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon both took over driving duties from their respective team-mates in the afternoon and completed the top ten.

Sebastian Vettel suffered an engine failure in the morning session, but recovered to complete a century of laps, albeit in P13.

Lando Norris was garage-bound for a while with brake issues before emerging to finish P14 on 49 laps, while Nicholas Latifi also hit problems when his engine also failed not long after the afternoon session began.

Kevin Magnussen finished the day last. He took over from Grosjean in the afternoon but only managed three laps before a puncture sent him into the barriers at Turn 8.

[Featured image – Wolfgang Wilhelm]

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