Lewis Hamilton with Mercedes achieved the best time on the first day of Catalunya’s F1 team testing. The World Champion rides in the afternoon session, though despite using C2 tires, he only got off in less than 1:17 min for a tour.
At 4:00 pm local time, Hamilton recorded 1: 16.976 min. This was 0.337 seconds better than his teammate Valterie Botas’ performance in the morning with faster C3 tires.
The day passed in sunny and warm weather and the session was never stopped.
The results of the Silver Arrow pilots are a bit surprising given the team’s approach in previous years to starting the first days of trials with long series of heavy-duty laps and stiffer tires.
Third on the day was Sergio Perez of Racing Point. The Mexican drove the new RP20 car in the morning session and with the C3 was quite competitive – 1: 17.375 minutes. In the afternoon he was replaced by Lance Strohl, who remained 10th with the C2.
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Max Verstapen with Red Bull finished 4th with C3 tires in 1: 17.516 min, but the day didn’t go smoothly for him. In the afternoon the Dutchman twice took off at the bend before the last chicane. His time with C2 in the morning was more competitive – 1: 17.787 min.
After staying up late in the morning, Danny Quatt with Alpha Tauri significantly improved his performance and finished day 5 with C2 tires. He left behind Carlos Sainz, Daniel Ricciardo, Esteban Okon and George Russell. The Frenchman made 62 laps with the new Renault R.S.20. upon his return as holder.
The day was not particularly positive for Ferrari. Charles Löckler, who replaced the ill-fated Sebastian Vettel, only finished 11th with C3 tires. At no stage of the session did the pilot from Monaco approach the time of the pilots in the forehead. Wings were changed several times in his car in search of better settings.
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