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Bottas continues to reign in Spain

NEWS STORY
08/03/2017

While football legend Jimmy Greaves claimed his sport was "a funny old game', one might well say that today's was a "funny old morning".

Though the ten drivers on duty completed 490 laps, there was little that really stood out, none of the teams really appearing to grab the job in hand by the horns.

As a result, though there were no red flags, there were numerous periods of just one driver on track, sometimes none at all.

Once again, Valtteri Bottas leads the way, the Finn beating his own previous best as he raised the benchmark to 1:19.310 running on the supersofts.

Intriguingly however, yesterday's pace-setter and Marathon man, Felipe Massa, was only 0.110s off the top, setting his best time on the softs.

Furthermore, though both ran on the ultrasoft rubber they were unable to improve.

It was an altogether quiet morning for Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn had an early spin, but this may have had more to do with the amount of hardware affixed to the back of the Ferrari than anything else. Other than the usual 'park gate sensors' there were what appeared to be giant antennae protruding from the rear wing. Indeed, the SF70H gave the appearance of an F1 equivalent of Boudica's chariot.

"Due to a "fluid systems check" - which Ferrari omitted to tell us whether this referred to the car or the party-loving Finn - Kimi only completed 39 laps, at one stage remaining in the garage for two hours.

Nonetheless, he finished the morning third, just 1.096s off the pace and without the need to go any softer than the yellow-banded tyres.

A quiet morning for Max Verstappen also. The early pace-setter, young Max kept his head down for much of the session ending the morning fourth 1.122s off the pace.

Like Mercedes (and Sauber and Williams), Renault is splitting driver duties between its drivers today. This morning Nico Hulkenberg completed 61 laps, posting his best time just ninety minutes into the session on the supersofts.

Though Carlos Sainz was the last driver to post a time, not emerging for the first hour, he spent the final phase of the morning trading times with Force India's Sergio Perez. Interestingly, while the Mexican ended up the quicker of the two, he needed to resort to the supersofts to do it.

At Haas Romain Grosjean appeared to have an uneventful morning, the Frenchman completing 54 laps on his way to a best time 3.118s off the pace.

Showing no ill-effects form his return to work yesterday, Pascal Wehrlein was back in action again this morning. His best time of 1:23.000 was posted on softs, but more importantly the German youngster completed 59 laps.

While Fernando Alonso appeared to spend more time in the garage than on track, both Honda and McLaren insist all is well and that the reason for a strategy which saw him spend much of the early part of the day simply completing single laps was all part of the master plan.

As we said, a funny old morning, but as the focus changes to specific race and set-up work we should see a lot more action this afternoon (and beyond) and further bites at Bottas' best time… not to mention some race sims.

Check out our Wednesday gallery from Barcelona, here.

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1. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 08/03/2017 14:10

"Is there still a game of bluff going on? has anyone shown there true hand yet? if the times are reflective of the performance of each team, 2017 looking really good, may have to take back Sky F1!!"

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