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Bottas heads Leclerc at Testing

Spanish GP winners Mercedes ahead of Ferrari again, this time at post-race test, while British debutant Ilott crashes Alfa Romeo

Last Updated: 14/05/19 6:35pm

Valtteri Bottas set the pace for Mercedes from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc on the first of two days of F1 Testing at Barcelona.

Two days after finishing second to Lewis Hamilton in the Spanish GP, Bottas was fastest as he took the undefeated W10 to a best time of 1:15.511 – a lap just a tenth slower than his record pole position time from last Saturday.

Bottas, who completed 131 laps, tried out some “new mechanical test items” as Mercedes conducted further aero and tyre assessments at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The Finn’s final timesheet margin to second-fastest Leclerc was a mammoth 1.4s – although the Mercedes set its best lap on Pirelli’s fastest tyres, whereas the Ferrari was on the second slowest.

Nonetheless, after a hugely disappointing race weekend for Ferrari, the test marks an important chance for them to try and understand how they can improve their SF90 and close the gap to Mercedes.

Leclerc matched Bottas’ lap count and finished seven-tenths ahead of third-fastest Daniil Kvyat, who maintained Toro Rosso’s strong form from the weekend.

Nico Hulkenberg, after a pointless Spain for Renault, was fourth with Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly fifth, as the Frenchman continues to adapt to the RB15.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Callum Ilott made his F1 testing debut with Alfa Romeo. The 20-year-old completed 41 laps on his maiden outing, but his day ended early with a crash at Turn Three.

More to follow…

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