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Hamilton tops opening day of testing in Spain

27 Feb 2017

We were promised that 2017’s revised regulations would make the cars quicker, and so it proved at Spain’s Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Monday, as the teams tested their new machines in anger for the first time.

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Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets for world champions Mercedes, his best lap - set on Pirelli’s soft-compound tyre - was a 1m 21.765s, already a second faster than the quickest time seen throughout pre-season testing at the same venue last year.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was second in the order, his SF70H machine just a tenth down on Hamilton, with the German’s best time set on medium rubber.

Both teams had highly productive days. Mercedes, with Valtteri Bottas at the wheel in the morning and Hamilton in the afternoon, recorded 152 laps, while Vettel racked up 128 for the Scuderia.

Williams made it two Mercedes-powered teams in the top three, with Felipe Massa third quickest after a century of laps, while Kevin Magnussen took fourth on his Haas debut, despite a brush with Barcelona’s barriers during the morning.

Sensor and then battery problems hampered Daniel Ricciardo’s first day in Red Bull’s RB13, the Australian ultimately finishing with the fifth-best time ahead of Bottas with a 50-lap tally. Seventh, meanwhile, went to Sergio Perez for Force India, with Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz ninth.

McLaren had the dubious honour of completing the fewest laps, as an oil system issue side-lined a frustrated Fernando Alonso for much of the morning. The Spaniard’s fortunes improved in the afternoon, as he put the Honda-powered MCL32 tenth, ahead of final runner Marcus Ericssson for Sauber.

For a look back on the day’s events as they happened, click here.