The first F1 pre-season testing of 2017 is currently underway at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, marking the first proper outing for the new F1 cars. The new regulations are meant to make the cars faster while enduring longer cycles during races. The speed was confirmed today as Lewis Hamilton went ahead to place Mercedes on top after setting a quickest time of 1m 21.765s, exactly 1s faster than last year’s time.
Ferrari man Sebastian Vettel was second on the timesheet in his new SF70H, but while Hamilton was on soft Pirelli tires, the German ran on medium compounds. Mercedes also had the most laps on the first day. Valtteri Bottas kicked off the day for the Silver Arrows in the morning session while Hamilton took over in the afternoon, altogether they ran 152 laps. Ferrari meanwhile had 128 laps from Vettel.
Felipe Massa put Williams in third with a 1m 22.076s while Haas debutant Kevin Magnussen finished the day in fourth ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull RB13. The Aussie had battery issues and only managed to score 50 laps. McLaren faced problems too in their new MCL32 driven by Fernando Alonso. Oil problems forced them to abort their morning session but the Spaniard managed to get back on track during the afternoon session before setting the 10th best time of the day.
Elsewhere, Bottas finished sixth for Mercedes leading Force India’s Sergio Perez, Toro Rosso man Carlos Sainz and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg.
Photos: Sam Bloxham, Florent Gooden