Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Mercedes end first test 1.3 seconds ahead after four stoppages on final day

2020 F1 season

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Mercedes’ rivals will be hoping the headline times from the first test of the 2020 F1 season do not reflect the true state of the competition, as the world champions were 1.3 seconds faster than anyone else.

[f1tv2020testa]However Valtteri Bottas did use the softest tyres available – Pirelli’s C5 compound – to set the fastest time of the first three days of testing. He lapped the Circuit de Catalunya almost half a second faster than last year’s Mercedes did in pre-season testing last year.

As usual Mercedes split the running between their two drivers, Lewis Hamilton taking over in the afternoon.

The session was stopped on four separate occasions due to red flags. Sebastian Vettel as the first to hit trouble after a power unit failure on his Ferrari. The team had to fit a replacement, and although he rejoined the session later on the delay meant Ferrari were unable to hit the 100-lap mark.

Another power unit problem brought Nicholas Latifi to a stop in his Mercedes-powered Williams. He also had to have a new unit fitted.

Kevin Magnussen, who took over from team mate Romain Grosjean after the lunch break, managed just four laps before spinning his Haas to a stop at turn seven. The front-right wheel made contact with the barrier and the car was not seen again after it was brought back to the pits.

The final stoppage was caused by Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault. However he was able to resume swiftly, and took the team to a total of more than 150 laps on their most productive day of the test so far.

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Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLaps
177Valtteri BottasMercedesW111’15.73265
244Lewis HamiltonMercedesW111’16.5160.78470
331Esteban OconRenaultRS201’17.1021.37076
418Lance StrollRacing PointRP201’17.3381.606114
526Daniil KvyatAlphaTauriAT011’17.4271.69562
699Antonio GiovinazziAlfa RomeoC391’17.4691.737152
73Daniel RicciardoRenaultRS201’17.5741.84293
833Max VerstappenRed BullRB161’17.6361.90486
910Alexander AlbonRed BullRB161’18.2132.48157
1010Pierre GaslyAlphaTauriAT011’18.2132.48157
1155Carlos Sainz JnrMcLarenMCL351’18.2742.54276
128Romain GrosjeanHaasVF-201’18.3802.64848
135Sebastian VettelFerrariSF10001’18.3842.65299
144Lando NorrisMcLarenMCL351’18.4542.72249
156Nicholas LatifiWilliamsFW431’19.0043.27271
1620Kevin MagnussenHaasVF-201’19.7093.9774

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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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32 comments on “Mercedes end first test 1.3 seconds ahead after four stoppages on final day”

  1. I think Albon should be on a 1’18.154, don’t think he and Gasly got exactly same time.

    1. HM, wait, not sure that’s completely correct either, Gasly looks to have a 1:17 @keithcollantine are you sure those are the final times?

    1. Testing on the softest compound available… Mind games, just like the DAS prodrive system.

  2. Mercedes looks to be clear number 1 again. Lewis Hamilton 7th WDC on its way. Let’s hope Ferrari and Redbull at least win a few races to make the season watchable. Racing Point looks like the Mercedes of Midfielders.

    1. If Mercedes do turn out to be dominant, then I certainly would say it is most likely to be Hamilton. But I think Bottas in a way has a bigger chance than Rosberg did, in the sense that Hamilton is unlikely to be getting better now and could possibly not be as good as he used to be. Not suggesting this will happen, but it could and bad luck could come in to play. Bottas has had worse luck than Hamilton in all 3 seasons as his team mate. At least 1 more retirement resulting in missing a win or a podium each year) If it is the other way round and Hamilton doesn’t have a stunning season, that could be as little as it takes for Bottas to win it if they are dominant. That is basically how Rosberg did it.

      An example such as Bottas’s first season was that the points gap between them was 46. If Hamilton had retired in Spain instead of Bottas, then that takes 25 off Hamilton and gives 18 to Bottas, Narrowign the gap down to just 3 points in Hamilton’s favour. If Mercedes had been dominant that year, then Bottas likely would have won spain if Hamilton had retired instead of him. And there could well have been a chance that Bottas could have been WDC because of that one and only retirement.

      It just shows how much the points can swing if 1 driver that is in a race winning car retires just one more than their team mate. Given that Hamilton has been pretty fortunate luck wise in the past few years, maybe Bottas will be better off this time. I’m in no way suggesting he’s better than Hamilton, but if it is Hamilton having 1 more power related retirement, it certainly will make things far closer.

      1. Let’s hope we get a good intra-team battle then.

        1. Well performance wise, I still expect hamilton to be better. But I just feel he won’t always be at the same level he had been in recent years. Bottas still has a slim chance of improving. And any reliability getting in Hamilton’s way could benefit Bottas in the same way it did for Rosberg in 2016. The area where I think Bottas could get close to Hamilton is qualifying. He’s got closer this year with out qualifying him in a 3rd of the season’s races. I actually expect he will get closer, possibly to the point where it is half and half. If overtaking still is difficult, things could get interesting.

      2. Can’t really believe you tell something like that even before first race…
        What if the Moon crashes into Mercedes Motorhome? And Godzilla eats RBR’s? Will Ferrari finally win?

        BTW, in first season, Bottas has been 58 points behind Lewis, not 45… then a chasm in the next one… and another chasm last year.

        1. Ferrari winning? Naaah.. unless all other teams volunteer to lose and don’t participate. Even then Ferrari will find a way to fudge up the victory.

  3. With the usual testing caveats, this first round of tests could be a worrying sign for Haas. All the other cars, and every driver save Latifi managed to set faster laps.

    1. That’s what I thought as well. I’m worried for them, although Steiner said in the recap on the team website they weren’t trying to go fast on the first day. But you’re right, it looks ominous.

  4. Could we somehow know the length of the stint during which the fastest times were set? Any place to look this up?

  5. Looks like Formala 1.5 has gained a few teams this year.

    1. @picasso-19d-ftw Remember, this is just testing.

      1. @jerejj haha, yeah, and I was just jesting. There’s a good chance when the dust settles and the racing starts that Ferrari (maybe) and Red Bull (probably) will be up at the sharp end and there’ll still be a gap back to the rest. But you’ve gotta say Merc are fast, and whilst you can sandbag and feign slowness it’s not so easy to feign blistering speed – nor are they the team that would try. So who knows, maybe it really will turn out that the midfield just swallowed up Ferrari and Red Bull whilst Mercedes leapt ahead? Let’s hope at least the latter isn’t true, I really hope the young guns will be taking it to HAM this year

  6. 2021 can’t come soon enough!

  7. Stephen Higgins
    21st February 2020, 17:55


    When’s DAS getting banned??

    1. 2021 unfortunately, expect more and more attack on creativity from “socialists” that run the FIA.

      First law of bureaucracy: every bureaucracy if not checked increases its power until is indistinguishably from a Socialist tyranny.

      1. Some very bizarre trolling there, AlexS.

      2. #AlexS
        Malone is a Libertarian and a Trump supporter, he does what he does purely for profits. Any changes he makes to the F1 regs is to try and increase its financial viability leading to increased income for his organisasion.

        1. @johnrkh Have you got anything to support your assertion that Malone is making changes to the F1 regs, let alone purely for profit?

          1. @robbie Well let me see…um…OK. F1 is a sport yes. F1 is also a business and needs to be profitable to carry on at the technical and professional level it has achieved.
            John C. Malone is himself worth something Nth of $7 Billion.
            He controls two core companies as far as I know and through those he has many interests/investments in other companies one of which is F1. They are Liberty Global approximate worth a bit over $13 Billion. The other is Qurate Retail worth around $3.5 Billion, as you can see he is quite successful.
            So I would hazard a guess and say that any decision involving his businesses would be made on the basis of increasing profits. I don’t think that is a bad thing, it does not make him evil or dishonest, it makes him a businessman.

          2. @johnrkh As I suspected you have nothing to substantiate that Malone has anything to do with the regs of F1. All you have is your own speculative rant off of what you have read of the man on Wikipedia.

          3. @robbie Oh sorry again I have lead you astray. You are correct Malone himself does not sit in his office writing the F1 regs. He does give direction to his management as to the outcome he expects. That would be make a profit.

            All you have is your own speculative rant off of what you have read of the man on Wikipedia.

            Haha no Forbes actually.
            Robbie you have 0 evidence that he is not trying to maximise profits, happy to read any evidence you may come up with :)
            But all of the evidence points to the fact that he is in the business of making money. He did NOT buy F1 just because he likes Motor Racing.
            But like I said there is nothing wrong with that.

      3. Unfortunately?

        Let’s ban everything, and leave drivers with leg-pushed-cars. The real racing!

    2. Hopefully never.

  8. Fun fact: Bottas is still the only driver ever to dip below the 1:16 and he did it at least 3 times already (also in Q2 and Q3 last year).

    1. @matthijs The only driver ever on this current 2007-present layout to be more precise, but yes.

      1. @jerejj don’t ruin it for me ;)

        1. @matthijs I wasn’t attempting, LOL. Just referred to your point in a bit more precise manner, that’s all.

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