Raikkonen fastest on second day of testing as Mercedes cause intrigue

Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen topped the timing sheets on the second day of pre-season testing ahead of the 2020 F1 season, but all eyes were on Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes debuted a new steering wheel system.

Raikkonen posted his fastest time – a 1m 17.091 – during the final hour of the day’s running whilst on the soft tyre, displacing Sergio Perez, who had topped the timing sheets for much of the day. He completed 134 laps, but also brought out the first red flag of the test when he stopped on approach to Turn 9 with less than 15 minutes left on the clock.

The day’s headlines, however, were stolen by Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes, after it was noticed that the German team had introduced a new adjustable steering wheel system – called ‘DAS’ – to the W11. Technical director James Allison said that the FIA was aware of the system and was confident it was within the regulations, but declined to explain for what reason it was added to the car.

Hamilton completed 106 laps in the morning and posted the ninth fastest time before handing over to Bottas in the afternoon. The Finn turned in 77 laps before an electrical problem forced him to miss the final hour of running.

On the whole though, it was another day of noticeably strong reliability and high mileage.

Sergio Perez finished in P2 having been on top of the timing sheets for much of the day, with Daniel Ricciardo a further +0.4s back and Albon and Gasly rounding out the top five.

Sebastian Vettel made his first appearance on track and finished P6 with 73 laps to his name. He had been due to drive yesterday but pulled out at the last minute owing to illness.

George Russell completed a healthy 116 laps on his way to P7, with Charles Leclerc, Hamilton and Lando Norris behind him in P8, P9 and P10 respectively.

Romain Grosjean completed 158 laps and finished in P11 despite a spin at Turn 5 that left him with damage to the rear-wing and floor. Behind him were Esteban Ocon and Bottas.

 

[Featured image – LAT Images]

Hamilton fastest on first day of pre-season testing

Lewis Hamilton has finished fastest on the first day of pre-season ahead of the 2020 F1 season, three tenths ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton set a 1m 16.976 on the hard tyres during the afternoon session, making him the only driver to break into the 1m 16s. He completed 94 laps, having taken over the wheel of the W11 from Bottas – who had led the morning session – after the break for lunch. The pair completed 173 laps between them, the most of any team.

Sergio Perez of Racing Point finished an impressive third with 58 laps to his name, almost four tenths behind Hamilton.

Verstappen completed the most laps of any single driver with a whopping 168 on his way to fourth in the timing sheets. He suffered a couple of spins on his way into the final chicane in the afternoon, but suffered no damage.

(Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)

Daniil Kvyat finished fifth in his team’s first outing as AlphaTauri ahead of Sainz and the Renault duo of Ricciardo and Ocon. Ricciardo was delayed in leaving the garage at the start of the afternoon session due to continuing work being carried out on the R.S.20, but eventually completed 54 laps.

George Russell finished an encouraging P9 for Williams, who are looking to recover from a miserable 2019 season, while Lance Stroll rounded out the top ten.

It was a late call-up for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. Sebastian Vettel was originally slated to drive today, but he was feeling unwell and opted to leave the circuit early to recover. Leclerc stepped in in his place and finished P11 on 131 laps.

Williams’s Nicholas Latifi finished P12 in his first official outing as an F1 driver, with Alfa Romeo’s reserve driver Robert Kubica in P13, and Kevin Magnussen and Antonio Giovinazzi rounding out the timing sheets.

In something of a rare occurence, not a single red flag was shown all day. Every team completed over 100 laps and there were no issues or incidents aside from Verstappen’s spins, and a relatively small off for Magnussen.

Testing continues tomorrow morning.

 

[Featured image – Wolfgang Wilhelm]

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