Mercedes topped the times with both Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton on the final day of the first test at the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya. The Finn out paced his teammate by seven tenths as the world champions continued to top the times.
Bottas set his fastest time during the morning session where he managed one lap short of a race distance, before handing over to teammate Esteban Ocon. Mercedes end the first test as the team to beat after topping the times on two of the three days of testing so far.
There nearest challenger was the Renault of Esteban Ocon, the Frenchman was a second and three tenths off Bottas’s fastest lap. The talking point was the Mercedes ‘DAS’ wheel the biggest innovation over the last three days.
Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and Alpha Tauri’s Daniil Kvyat completed the top five, both drivers setting their team’s best of the test on Day Three. Red Bull and Ferrari appeared not to be chasing Mercedes, while Red Bull appear reliable the same cannot be said of Ferrari.
On day three, between them Max Verstappen and Alex Albon completed the most laps of any team, a hundred and sixty nine laps. The same cannot be said of Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel stopped at Banc de Sabetell with an engine issue. That caused the first red flag of the test.
Vettel returned to the track in the afternoon, managing to pass a hundred laps, but no performance running saw him finish the day down in twelfth. Three more red flags followed with Nicholas Latifi and Daniel Ricciardo also stopped on track, while Kevin Magnussen suffered a puncture in his Haas and went spinning onto the gravel.
Magnussen’s puncher proved the costliest, he finished the day only managing four laps. The Dane spun on the exit of Turn Seven hitting the wall.
Ricciardo had his own problems, he also stopped on track at Campsa with an unspecified problem. Renault was able to get Ricciardo back out for the final hour of running, although the Australian’s particularly long run had been interrupted by the stoppage.
Alpha Tauri Daniil Kvyat was fifth setting a 17.42 to go three hundredths faster than the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi. Max Verstappen managed eighty six laps in his morning stint going eighth, ahead of Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon.