F1 winter testing day 1 report: Mercedes back to dominant ways?

19-02-2020 17:00 | Updated: 19-02-2020 17:34
by Nicolás Quarles van Ufford
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F1 winter testing day 1 report: Mercedes back to dominant ways?

Lewis Hamilton has finished the first day of testing on top of the timesheets in a Mercedes one-two, with eight hours of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya remarkably being completed on Wednesday without a single red flag.

Mercedes' W11 was driven by both Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas on Wednesday, with Bottas taking the morning shift while the reigning champion put his work in in the afternoon.

The entire day was without drama, with only small technical problems for Daniil Kvyat and Alfa Romeo reserve driver Robert Kubica popping up. Max Verstappen, who had the fourth quickest time on the day, had multiple spins as the Dutchman pushed the pace in his first outing of the season.

At Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel was supposed to be behind the wheel of the SF1000 but the German wasn't feeling well, meaning Charles Leclerc took over his duties for the day. The 22-year-old finished 1.3 seconds off pace-setter Hamilton.

Before testing started on Wednesday, both Haas and Alfa Romeo Racing presented their 2020 challengers, with the latter team letting reserve driver Robert Kubica drive the car in the morning rather than veteran Kimi Raikkonen.

Long runs

That same Verstappen also logged the most laps out of all 15 drivers active on Wednesday, with the eight-time Grand Prix winner completing almost three full race distances - 165 laps.

Behind him in terms of mileage were Carlos Sainz, and then the Ferrari of Leclerc. The Monegasque's SF1000 was clearly not set up to set the timesheets on fire as he only finished 11th, but Leclerc put in over 130 laps.

Kevin Magnussen was the only other driver to reach the century in terms of laps as Haas look to collect as much data as possible, hoping to resolve 2019's issue of not getting the tyres in the right temperature window in race trim.

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