Esteban Ocon made his debut for Renault on the opening day of the post-season test at Yas Marina, where Mercedes Valtteri Bottas topped the times. The Finn set a 37.1 over the course of his one hundred and thirty-eight laps going fastest by eight tenths over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Bottas was the busiest driver going third in terms of mileage, along with Max Verstappen and Romain Grosjean. All the teams have ten sets of each of the compounds, both a mix of the 2019 and 2020 compound. They have five different 2019 compounds and six 2020 compounds to choose from.
Bottas’s benchmark time, a 37.124 set on the 2019 C4 compound, was eight-tenths of a second faster than the next-best, set by Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari.
However, Ferrari’s difficult 2019 continued, Sebastian Vettel, lost lots of time during the morning with an exhaust issue. Once that was resolved the German managed to go third fastest on the 2020 C5 tyre, going eight tenths off the pace.
As ever, testing doesn’t always give a true understanding of performance as fuel loads and strategies aren’t always clear. Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat was third fastest, going a second down on Bottas but he was well ahead of his nearest rival Sergio Perez.
The Racing Point driver completed over two race distances going fourth fastest, a second ahead of the Haas of Romain Grosjean. Kvyat shared the driving with Sean Gelael, the two of them completing a hundred and thirty-nine laps between them.
The Indonesian driver drove in the morning setting a 41.6 which was two and a half seconds slower than teammate Kvyat. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was seventh ahead of Ocon, by three-hundredths but lead the way in terms of mileage.
George Russell was ninth fastest on a 40.3, managing eighty-seven laps going three and three quarters off the lead. That put him four seconds ahead of Roy Nissany in the second car.
Kimi Raikkonen was the slowest of the race drivers, he was three and three-quarters seconds off the pace going tenth fastest managing ninety-three laps in the Alfa Romeo. However, his day was brought to an early end because of a technical issue.
The final day of testing takes place tomorrow, before the winter break. The first pre-season test will begin on the 19th – 21st February at the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya.