Lewis Hamilton has set the early pace as Formula 1’s 2017 pre-season testing got underway on Monday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. In the first day of open track testing under the new regulations, the Englishman comfortably beat last year’s pole position time, underscoring how much quicker this year’s field will be under the new aerodynamic rules.
Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel both managed to lap quicker than last year’s 1:22.000 pole lap, with Vettel’s best effort coming on the Medium-compound Pirelli tyre in comparison to Hamilton’s Soft-shod flying lap.
The Mercedes F1W08 – driven by Hamilton in the afternoon and new teammate Valtteri Bottas in the morming – and Ferrari SF70H both ran reliably on their first full day of running, with each car clocking over 100 laps of the Montmeló circuit.
Despite launching without their version of the ‘shark fin’ engine cover extension, the F1W08 was quick to sport one during the day as the team trialed a range of aerodynamic parts on their new car. Only Hamilton ran the device, while Bottas spent his morning with the ‘T wing’ alone and was 1.4 seconds slower than his teammate.
The testing times are generally meaningless given each team will run a variety of programs, development parts and set-up configurations over the first four-day test, as well as ensuring their new packages are fundamentally reliable.
That last description could not be given to McLaren or Red Bull Racing, however. At the former, Fernando Alonso’s morning was limited to one out/in-lap before his MCL32 hit an oil systems issue. The Spaniard managed to eventually get out on track and clocked up some 30 laps by the end of the day.
Over at Red Bull Racing, Daniel Ricciardo chalked up a half-century of laps in his RB13, but the Australian’s day was interrupted by battery and sensor issues that led to stints in the team’s garage.
Also striking trouble was Force India, which saw Sergio Pérez’s planned program derailed by a series of exhaust issues that brought the Mexican’s afternoon to an early close.
The increased cornering speeds of the new-generation designs managed to catch a few drivers out during the day. The biggest casualty was Kevin Magnussen, who damaged his Haas’ front wing with a minor off at Turn 10, however the Dane managed to recover to the pits for quick repairs.
F1 pre-season testing continues in Barcelona on Tuesday.
|2017 FORMULA 1 PRE-SEASON TEST – DAY 1 UNOFFICIAL TIMES|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Laps|
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:21.765||73|
|2.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:21.878||126|
|3.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:22.076||103|
|4.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:22.894||51|
|5.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:22.926||50|
|6.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:23.169||79|
|7.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:23.709||39|
|8.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR12||1:24.494||51|
|9.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:24.784||57|
|10.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda MP4-31||1:24.852||29|
|11.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:26.841||72|
Image via Mercedes AMG F1 Petronas