Bottas fastest as first in-season test ends

Bottas fastest as first in-season test ends

19 April 2017 – Valtteri Bottas posted the quickest lap time as the first in-season test of 2017 came to an end at the Bahrain International Circuit on Wednesday, ensuring the Mercedes team topped both days of running.

Bottas, who took pole for last weekend's race, before dropping to third amid rear tyre struggles, led the morning and afternoon sessions.

He entered lunch with a 1:31.771, and later improved to a 1:31:353 – 0.005s quicker than team-mate Lewis Hamilton's day-one time.

Bottas also led the mileage charts, completing around two-and-a-half race distances, despite a stoppage midway through the day.

Mercedes' focus during the test was on long-run performance, Hamilton declaring after the first day of running that the outfit was starting to get on top of its recent struggles.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel finished closest to Bottas, jumping ahead of Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz Jr. late on, having missed a sizeable chunk of track time in the morning.

Vettel, who dedicated Tuesday to Pirelli testing, was limited to nine laps before lunch, as technical problems struck, but brought his tally up to 64 through the afternoon.

McLaren-Honda experienced a much better second day, after yesterday's technical troubles, which restricted test and development driver Oliver Turvey to just 17 laps.

Stoffel Vandoorne ran without major problems to rack up more than a race distance, trialling some new parts in the afternoon, and jumping up to fourth with a last-gasp lap.

Kevin Magnussen took over at Haas to continue tests with Carbon Industrie's brake products, placing fifth overall, just 0.022s ahead of Force India driver Esteban Ocon.

Force India was one of two teams, along with Toro Rosso, to split its running.

Ocon and Daniil Kvyat wound up second and third in the morning, but fell to sixth and seventh respectively in the afternoon, during which Sergio Pérez and Sainz Jr. lapped.

Gary Paffett, who last drove an F1 car with McLaren back in 2013, returned to action in the Williams FW40 as part of his development role, cruising past the 100-lap mark.

Renault and Red Bull reserve drivers Sergey Sirotkin and Pierre Gasly enjoyed their first runs in 2017-spec Formula 1 machinery, ending up ninth and 10th respectively.

Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein got some more running under his belt, following his pre-season back injury, en route to 11th position, with Pérez completing the day's order.

F1 will return with the Russian Grand Prix from April 28-30

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