Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya

Bottas and Perez ahead as first morning of test ends

2020 F1 season

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Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez were separated by just six hundredths of a second as the first four hours of pre-season testing came to an end at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Perez made an encouraging start for Racing Point, who like Renault revealed their 2020 car for the first time when the test began.

The busiest driver so far in the first day of pre-season testing was Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who put 91 laps on his new, Honda-powered RB16.

All 10 teams demonstrated impressive reliability right from the start of the test, with all the drivers covering at least 50 laps at the home of the Spanish Grand Prix. There were no stoppages during the morning’s running, though Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTauri had to be pushed back to the garage after making a stuttering getaway from his pit box at one stage. He ended up bottom of the times, but with no teams exploring the limits of their cars at this early stage, he was just 1.1 seconds off Bottas’s best.

The Mercedes driver, who like Verstappen has already completed more than a 66-lap race distance, will hand over to team mate Lewis Hamilton for the afternoon session.

[smr2020test]Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, standing in for his unwell team mate, fell slightly short of that benchmark after Ferrari appeared to suffer a delay in their programme at one stage. They also deployed several of their mechanics to block the view into their garage at one point, the teams having been banned from using screens to hide their cars this year.

Williams were the first team to hit the track when the test began, making a clear statement about their readiness for the new season, 12 months on from their failure to have their 2019 car ready for the start of testing.

“The entire team at Grove have worked tirelessly over the winter to get the FW43 ready for when the lights went green in Barcelona today,” said deputy team principal Claire Williams.

Only Bottas and Verstappen completed more laps than George Russell covered in the FW43 this morning. “We have spent a significant amount of time and resource analysing our weaknesses over the past 12 months so that we can make progress in 2020 and beyond and I know everyone in the team will have been delighted to see their car out on track today,” Williams added.


2020 pre-season test day one morning lap times

Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLapsTyres
177Valtteri BottasMercedesW111’17.31378C3
211Sergio PerezRacing PointRP201’17.3750.06258C3
333Max VerstappenRed BullRB161’17.7870.47491C2
455Carlos Sainz JnrMcLarenMCL351’18.0010.68864C2
531Esteban OconRenaultRS201’18.0040.69159C3
663George RussellWilliamsFW431’18.1680.85573C3
716Charles LeclercFerrariSF10001’18.2890.97664C3
888Robert KubicaAlfa RomeoC391’18.3861.07357C3
920Kevin MagnussenHaasVF-201’18.4661.15352C3
1026Daniil KvyatAlphaTauriAT011’18.4841.17153C3

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “Bottas and Perez ahead as first morning of test ends”

  1. I know its morning one and I’m shockingly biased but….way to go Williams!!!

    1. I have never willed a team to improve so much! I really want them to be competitive.

      1. For what it is worth;

        2019 Spanish Quali time Russel: 1’19.072
        Day 1 of 2020 testing: 1’18.168


  2. Data from the long runs are far more important than the lap times and therefore it woud be nice to get a comparison of Mercedes vs. Red Bull. Verstappen’s stints were very impressive. Otherwise there’s very little to talk about.

  3. Well, they are running the same car, so it’s not surprising Perez is up their with Bottas ;D

    On a more serious note: Bottas’ long runs looked very strong, with Verstappen just slightly behind.
    Ferrari is very hard to judge right now. They are either quite a bit behind or just doing completely different things, because their long runs on the C3 didn’t look all to promising. They might also be running lower engine modes, because they have been the slowest through the first sector.

    Haas looked very good too. KMag’s long runs were very consistent, almost on the same level as Bottas.
    I’m also pleasantly surprised by Williams. They seem to have found some lap time over the winter and have at least closed the gap to the back of the midfield.

    Then again, it’s only the first half of the first day of testing. A lot can happen during the course of the test and come Australia.

  4. W11 P1, W10 P2

    1. Agreed. If RP-W10 can stay around 0.5s of W11 throughout the year, there’s is going to be some more diversity in the front rows. Albon and Vettel may have new neighbors.

  5. Who would have thought two years ago that a Honda powered car would start into a test with the most mileage

    1. @mrboerns not Alonso that’s for sure

  6. Binotto has had the shock of his life. The ferrari looks pretty much the same, the suspension front and rear looks different but the problem is not Ferrari, the problem is everyone has moved on, massively. Haas, sauber, williams look slow.

    1. @peartree
      I disagree about Haas. KMag had a very strong long run, lapping consistently around 1:19.0 (but with DRS open on the main straight), which was on the same level as Bottas and a little quicker than Verstappen.

      I would be more worried about Racing Point. Though they set a quick time, Perez’ long run was similar to that of Russell, which can’t be a good sign (consistently in the mid 1:20s).

    2. Well I do not know about most of that, but, for Williams, looking slow on track on the first morning on testing is a big leap, not just bc. they are running, but also because they aren’t very clearly seconds behind. Not into the top of the midfield, clearly, but at least looking to not be alone on track behind the others at the least @peartree

  7. PSA: Please stop drawing conclusions about lap times on the first morning of testing.

    1. Nah, didn’t you know that the championships are decided based on these times and the way the cars looked when they were launched?

      1. @kaiie Very true, however I made a major wad of cash betting some money on Button and Brawn after day 1 testing in 2009!

  8. The way everyone thinks you can gain any knowledge from these lap times it’s hilarious. There are people convinced racing point are stronger than ferrari

    1. It’s every year the same but here’s hoping that the field will be closer together and Williams has built an F1 car instead of last year’s F2.

    2. Well, that car was superior to Ferrari last year.
      And I do not think a paint job will make them slower.

    3. @scuderia29, it depends on whether you are discussing the headline times or the longer stints that the teams also run.

      The headline times do not tend to be particularly useful, but if teams carry out race simulations and run extended stints on track, there can be useful trends within those longer stints that offer some insights into relative performance.

  9. Completely meaningless. Reporting times on the first day of testing shows a lack of understanding of F1 engineering IMO.

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