Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya

Mercedes fastest, Ferrari 11th on first day of test

2020 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

The two Mercedes drivers occupied the top spots on the timing sheets at the end of the first day of pre-season testing and covered more laps than any other team.

Rivals Ferrari ended the day eighth-fastest of the 10 teams, with only their two engine customers Alfa Romeo and Haas behind them. However the spread of lap times was very narrow, with less than one-and-a-half seconds covering the fastest and slowest cars.

Lewis Hamilton took over from Valtteri Bottas in the W11 after the lunch break. He lowered his team mate’s best time of the day by over three-tenths of a second to finish the first session on top. The pair are due to share the car again tomorrow.

Bottas shaded Sergio Perez, who set a strong third-fastest tune for Racing Point before handing the team’s new 2020 car over to Lance Stroll. The car’s outward similarity to last year’s Mercedes drew much attention.

Max Verstappen spent the whole day in the RB16 which he spun twice but kept out of the barriers. He single-handedly logged 168 laps – over two-and-a-half race distances at the home of the Spanish Grand Prix.

AlphaTauri made a steady start to the day, conducting a series of aerodynamic runs, but Daniil Kvyat backed up the team’s sister car with the fifth fastest time.

[smr2020test]The Renault-powered cars were next: Carlos Sainz Jnr had the McLaren MCL35 to himself, while Daniel Ricciardo took over the new Renault RS20 in the afternoon and took almost a tenth of a second team mate Esteban Ocon’s best time.

Williams divided their running between George Russell and Nicholas Latifi, the former taking the FW43 to the ninth-fastest time. Stroll was tenth after his run in the Racing Point leaving Leclerc, who was drafted in as a substitute for his unwell Ferrari team mate, outside the top 10. However at this early stage in testing, five five days still to run, it is unlikely to cause much concern for the Scuderia.

Robert Kubica, the only test driver in action during this week’s test, ended the day 13th ahead of Kevin Magnussen Haas and his Alfa Romeo team mate Antonio Giovinazzi.


2020 testing day one lap times

Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLapsTyres
144Lewis HamiltonMercedesW111’16.97694C2
277Valtteri BottasMercedesW111’17.3130.33779C3
311Sergio PerezRacing PointRP201’17.3750.39958C3
433Max VerstappenRed BullRB161’17.5160.540168C3
526Daniil KvyatAlphaTauriAT011’17.6980.722115C3
655Carlos Sainz JnrMcLarenMCL351’17.8420.866161C3
73Daniel RicciardoRenaultRS201’17.8730.89754C2
831Esteban OconRenaultRS201’18.0041.02862C3
963George RussellWilliamsFW431’18.1681.19273C3
1018Lance StrollRacing PointRP201’18.2821.30650C2
1116Charles LeclercFerrariSF10001’18.2891.313131C3
126Nicholas LatifiWilliamsFW431’18.3821.40663C3
1388Robert KubicaAlfa RomeoC391’18.3861.41059C3
1420Kevin MagnussenHaasVF-201’18.4661.490104C3
1599Antonio GiovinazziAlfa RomeoC391’20.0963.12078C3

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2020 F1 season

Browse all 2020 F1 season articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

69 comments on “Mercedes fastest, Ferrari 11th on first day of test”

  1. I think the most astonishing part of the day was that there were no red flags! A testament to all the teams being able to design and build cars with reliability in mind.

    1. I came across an interesting little tidbit over on another site:
      A reminder that on the opening day of testing at the start of the turbo-hybrid era in 2014, there were 93 laps completed.
      Across the entire F1 field.

      1. Wow compared to 1349 today!!

      2. @schooner – very interesting stat! Is there a breakdown of those 94 by Mercedes / Mercedes-powered / others?

        1. @phylyp, Mercedes did just 18 laps, as Hamilton crashed early on due to a front wing failure; as for Mercedes customers, Williams managed 7 laps and Force India 11 laps.

          In case you are curious, Kimi ended the day with the highest number of laps to his name – with a grand total of 31 laps.

          1. Thank you, anon, that wasn’t the breakdown I was expecting, I thought Merc would’ve been higher up! :)

          2. If any one is interested in detailed statistics of the first day of 2014

            1. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1m 27.104s, 31 laps

            2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes , 1m 27.820s, 18 laps

            3. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1m 30.082s, 7 laps

            4. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1m 33.161s, 11 laps

            5. Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, 1m 36.530s, 15 laps

            6. Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, 1m 42.257s, 7 laps

            7. Sebastian Vettel , Red Bull, No time, 3 laps

            8. Marcus Ericsson, Caterham, No time, 1 lap

          3. @renee – thank you, much appreciated. It’s no wonder that fans were understandably anxious about the state of the season after such a start in testing. In fact, I remember being pleasantly surprised at how many cars actually finished the Australian GP roughly a month after testing – probably testament to all the hard work that goes into F1 (and being bemused that it was a Mercedes car that also failed to finish that GP!)

          4. @phylyp it is true that, in retrospect, it’s kind of forgotten that Mercedes’s first day of testing didn’t go entirely to plan back then – things did change after that though.

            It also has to be noted that the number of laps which the teams collectively started covering did ramp up fairly quickly after that first day – on the final day of the fourth test, the teams collectively logged 688 laps of testing.

  2. So this year Merc is hanging it out and Ferrari is sandbagging?

    The times are so close anyway.

    1. @slotopen – far fetched as it may sound . . . . what if Mercedes **ARE** actually sandbagging, yet still at the top of the list ?

      1. I don’t think that is far fetched..

      2. Very ominous for those who aren’t Mercedes fans.

      3. Hamilton did his fastest time on the harder C2 tyres at the beginning of a 14 lap stint. He definitely wasn’t going all out!

        1. I was just about to make the same point. ;-)

  3. Testing just started and I’m already questioning the legality of the new Racing Point. As people here (and all over) have pointed out, it looks like a carbon copy of the Mercedes W10 with a pink livery. I know we like to joke about how Haas just runs the previous year’s Ferrari, but the RP20 genuinely looks like they just bought the W10 and repainted it. Why even go through the trouble of making such a radical design change when we’re getting a big technical regulation overhaul for next season? It just doesn’t sit right with me.

    1. Remember the W10 was a lot like the W09. Racing Point, as Force India, went bankrupt and were rescued. As such, last year’s car was stillborn and they’ve been working on this year’s car ever since Stroll arrived with his cash.

      I’m not surprised they spent a lot of time last season analysing the class leading Mercedes car and using it for their 2020 design. Especially as they were using the Mercedes wind tunnel…

      1. What does using the MB wind tunnel have to do with it? Somehow the wind tunnel makes it easier to copy designs? It’s just a piece of equipment.

        1. Perhaps they found some technical drawings in the dumpster out back?

    2. @Jake I wouldn’t jump to definite conclusions at this point, and especially on something that is more or less impossible to prove. Of course, it’s their car, not the actual physical Mercedes W10. Teams can’t/aren’t allowed to get cars from rivals anyway. They simply decided to try and make their car look like it to the greatest extent possible, which is perfectly legal and not even entirely unordinary. I don’t have any problems with their approach to their latest design, and I’m wholly positive everything they’ve done (whatever they’ve done) to get it to look as similar as possible to F1’s most recent WDC/WCC-winning car is within the rules.

      1. I wouldn’t rely on Racing Point’s noble intentions so much. Just the fact they had access to technical documentation of Mercedes (how else do you expect them to master concepts Mercedes alone has been developing for the past five years) should be banned straight away. Of course I understand this is not the case of Racing Point only, but if you’re ok with a team having a microscopic technical input and just walking in the wind tunnel, getting all the data about the winning car – no, that’s not clever, that’s just cheap business and further cementing the domination of the top teams.

        1. @pironitheprovocateur making the claim that Racing Point had access to technical documentation and wind tunnel data from Mercedes is a pretty bold claim – do you have anything substantial to back that up, other than “well, it looks similar”?

          As @jerejj points out, nobody seems to bat an eyelid when teams copy components from each other over the course of a season – in fact, most consider it to be normal and amuse themselves by trying to work out which car they nicked the idea from.

        2. do you have anything substantial to back that up

          Of course he doesn’t. It’s not a bold claim it’s a stupid claim.

    3. F1 Teams have always copied whatever worked best. The only reason you don’t see more wholesale copying is because the cars are built around concepts & not just random good ideas brought together that work regardless. This year, Racing Point benefits* (*only if the car turns out to be good over the season) from having to spend most of last year sitting on their hands development-wise. There’d be no point in bringing forward an evolution of their un-evolved car, so they did the next best thing in light of this year’s largely brought-forward regs & the impending change of formula for the next: they copied the concept of the championship winning team, who they happen to buy a load of parts from anyway. It’s the smartest thing they could’ve done, IMO.

    4. Nothing illegal about the Racing Point. Did you question the legality of the Haas or Alpha Tauri?

  4. I guess Toto must be mad at the poor boy that forgot putting the bags of sand under the sidepods’ cover.

    1. The bags are there mate, trust me.

    2. Lewis wasn’t pushing hard at all F1 has uploaded onboard of his fastest lap along with highlights of the day. Compared to him Verstappen was on edge and pushing the RBR to limit.

  5. Not bad for the opening day of testing to reach the high-1m16s.

  6. I called it at lunch. Ferrari is doomed. Only Latifi stopped us from having all Ferrari cars at the bottom.
    The chart hasn’t got the tyres yet but it doesn’t matter. The Ferrari powered cars looked bad on track.
    The Ferrari is not as bad as it looks like as it didn’t run DRS, at least I didn’t see them running DRS, s1 times were still quickish, but s3 times were awful. The car looked just a tad better than last years. The most noticeable difference on the ferrari is the suspension, I’m sure they are trying a few things, in the morning the front end was horrendous. In the end most of the field took a giant leap forwards.

    1. Way too early to be making these assumptions. Last year for the first week of testing we all thought Ferrari was going to be the team to beat. Then Mercedes brought many upgrades in the second week and showed up in Australia with another WCC car.

      Anyway, you should know by now there’s a reason it is called testing. So far I think all we know is there is a great amount of reliability happening, and Williams has started off this pre-season on a much better footing than last year at this time.

      1. Russel actually went quicker than last years quali time for the race, so Hopefully a turn up for the books…

      2. Difference is, this is Mercedes and not Ferrari. If they’re quick in testing than it’s a guarantee they’ll be quick in the races too.

        1. Hard to argue that.

        2. Well.. there’s always a first time for everything…. but yeah.. you’re right based on historical data.

      3. It would be difficult for Williams to start off this pre-season on a worse footing than last year at this time.

        1. I don’t know about that. They could have turned up with the wrong transporter and been forced to spend the day flogging a team-liveried HGV around the track.

          Actually, that still probably would have been better than last season’s opening test. It would have been more reliable in any case.

      4. @robbie

        Got to agree with you. It’s way too early to call anything. By the 2nd day of the 2nd test (day 5) is when we actually have a strong understanding of the pecking order… and even then there are surprises (Ferrari’s form last year in pre season testing looked far superior to everyone else, yet…)

        If I had to guess, Ferrari will start showing their hand on the last day of the first test, and then, turn it up a notch on the last 2 days of the second test.

      5. @robbie

        we all thought Ferrari ws going to be the team to beat

        Speak for yourself I never thought that last year. I posted that Merc looked to be well ahead and Ferrari was well behind as it was the case. I’m assuming media was so confident about Ferrari because someone behind the curtains leaked some intel.
        Thanks to people not thinking for themselves I did really well on last years Predictions championship, specifically early on.

    2. @peartree, I don’t think it is as bad as it looks on first sight. Surely they have a much better performance than what CL showed today. I actually do not mind that much who comes out on top after the testing is over. Looking at the reliability, I don’t think there is anything to worry about looking at the results of today.

      With regards to the laptimes, I do not really mind who is fastest, as long as the lap times for the long runs are within 2 or 3 tenths of a second, so that we have a chance of many more battles at the front and in the midfield. I would so much love it if this year can have podiums with non-top-3 cars.

      1. I’m up for more diverse podiums, that said last time we had competition in f1 fans were brainwashed into calling it lottery. early season 2012, 2013 was tight but fans only want to see their favourites succeed.

        1. Agreed. The predictability should go down … so we do not know in advance who the winners will be on raceday because the qualifying times were so tight, that anything could happen in the race (if the cars would actually be able to follow each other and overtake ;-) ).

    3. Testing results CAN mean absolutely nothing. Don’t waste time drawing any conclusions about what these results imply for the regular season. Go back and look at testing last year compared to the results of the first 6 races.

  7. And Merc is under sandbagging… Up the KGs…

  8. The lack of gap between the fastest and slowest is encouraging for the season. Very encouraging.
    Super-nice to see Williams racking up laps and NOT being at the tail end.
    A loooong way to go before Melbourne, but no time like the present to get fired up.

  9. Ham / Bottas set the times on medium tires.
    Perez set his time on soft tires.
    Ver set the time on hard tires.

    It looks like the pink Mercedes of last year needs some sponsor pushing.

    1. Just like the white Red Bull?

      1. The white Red Bull is pretty set for money, so no need.

    2. Hamilton set his time on the C2 [white walled] tyres, which is the hard.

    3. Ver, Ham and Bot all set their fastest times on the C2 compound.

      1. The F1 site put HAM on harder tyres than VER, BIT and PER. They don’t mention an actual compound though.

      2. Or this one:
        HAM – Mercedes 1.16.976 (C2) 94 laps
        BOT – Mercedes 1.17.313 (C3) 79 laps
        PER – Racing Point 1.17.375 (C3) 58 laps
        VER – Red Bull 1.17.516 (C3) 168 laps

        1. Ver used C2 all day and was around 1.17.8 They then switch to C3 and got 1.17.5 Looking at that and Bottas and Lewis difference between C3 and C2 is around 0.3-0.4

      3. Indeed Hamilton set his time on the hard C2 compound compared to Verstappen and Bottas on the softer C3 compound.

    4. Oh and also, you’re wrong about the tyre compounds. Perez, Verstappen and Bottas all set their fastest time on medium compound tyres. Hamilton set the fastest time of the day on hard tyres.

      1. And what were their fuel loads? Their engine settings? How were they set up?

  10. Year after year before the Tests begin everyone is emphasizing how testing times should not be taken for granted…
    After Day 1 everyone is crying about conclusions.
    I have already seen glimpses of this this year *facepalm*

    I just enjoy the Start of Season, crazy times right out of the gate, and pondering whether some of pre-season rumors turn out true or not.

    1. @dallein You’re right, but it is still fun to start to look for trends. So far we are seeing great reliability from the teams, and Williams starting off properly as opposed to last year at this time.

      But ya for sure as I mentioned above, last year for the first week of testing we all thought Ferrari was looking to be the team to beat for 2019. Even for some of the second week, until Mercedes brought upgrades, and come Australia the rest was history.

      It’s just fun to have something to see, as in, the new cars, about which to ponder. It’ll be interesting to see if what Ocon has said will come true. Lap record breaking times. We know the tires are unchanged from last year, so that is quite interesting for him to predict that. I guess they all have relatively more power and downforce then?

    2. @dallein And year after year we hear from the teams and insiders how testing revealed the situation from day 1.

      The only constant is the usual ‘testing means nothing’ -moaning from ignorant ‘know-it-all’ fans. *facepalm*

    3. @dallein I love Melbourne wich is consistently one of the worst rated races in this website, perhaps it has to do with crushed hopes and dreams or maybe the sight of someone new emerging.

  11. These laptimes…. I think both Austria and Zandvoort will be sub 1 minute laptimes.

  12. Ferrari are doing badly. Obviously they will win the title now….

    1. @yaru

      Whether Ferrari’s is doing well or badly in pre testing doesn’t matter… they’re sure to lose either ways.

  13. Hopefully Merc can keep this speed all year

  14. Mercedes setting fast times straight out of the box and Ferrari doing the opportunity of what they also normally do? What’s going on?

    1. *opposite

    2. It’s called “testing”. Different teams have different approaches. So what?

  15. I noticed there seems to be a lot more ‘day light’ under the cars.
    Am i imagining this, or is the ‘ride height’ a lot higher this year?

    The car’s rear suspension seemed particular high. Might this be due to less fuel loads?

    1. Craig Scarborough pointed out that even Ferrari has the Red Bull high rake car now, and that Red Bull is the most copied car so maybe others have gone the same route.

Comments are closed.