Mercedes have continued their strong start to 2020 Formula 1 testing, with Valtteri Bottas topping the timesheets before lunch on Friday in Barcelona.
Now 24 hours removed from debuting their innovative dual-axis steering system, Bottas proved in his 65 laps that the Mercedes W11 is as fast as it is clever, his best time of 1:15.732 (set on the fastest C5 tyre) being 1.370 seconds faster than his closest competitor, the Renault of Esteban Ocon (C4).
In stark contrast, rivals Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel endured a dismal session, only managing 40 laps and the second-slowest time before bringing-out the red flag with an engine issue that caused him to miss out on any further running. The SF1000 will be fitted with a new power unit before Vettel continues in the afternoon.
The other member of the big three, Red Bull, enjoyed a solid session, as Max Verstappen got the most mileage of anyone with 86 laps. Ocon and the McLaren of Carlos Sainz were tied for second with 76.
Elsewhere, Racing Point’s “Pink Mercedes” was third-fastest in the hands of Lance Stroll (C4), just over two-tenths removed from the Renault.
Daniil Kvyat was fourth-fastest for AlphaTauri, 9 thousandths faster than the senior-team car of Verstappen, albeit with the latter on C2 to the former’s C4 tyres.
Antonio Giovinazzi was sixth for Alfa Romeo, the first of the C3-tyre runners, the aforementioned Sainz two-tenths slower on C2’s.
Romain Grosjean (C3) was the last of the problem-free runners, narrowly edging Vettel to eighth. The Williams of Nicholas Latifi was slowest, having brought out the other red flag of the session when his car lost drive.