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Ricciardo tops timesheets on first morning of testing

NEWS STORY
26/02/2018

A late charge saw Daniel Ricciardo top the timesheets at Barcelona on the first morning of pre-season testing.

Between them the ten drivers on duty completed 474 laps, with Nico Hulkenberg leading the way in the Renault, the German completing 73 laps.

However, on 72 laps was Brendon Hartley in the Toro Rosso, powered by a Honda engine that only managed 29 laps over the course of the whole first day of testing last year.

Indeed, for Fernando Alonso there was a degree of deja vu as he spun off the track after just 6 laps causing the first red flag of the year. The cause of the spin, which saw the Spaniard lose his right-rear wheel, is understood to have been traced to a wheelnut.

Though the Spaniard wasn't expected out again this morning he reappeared in the final moments of the session completing a further 3 laps.

In addition to topping the timesheets, Ricciardo also completed one of the longest runs of the morning, the Australian completing over 25 laps and posting some very consistent times in the process.

For much of the morning however it was business as usual with Valtteri Bottas topping the timesheets, occasionally demoted by Kimi Raikkonen or Nico Hulkenberg.

Other than a second red flag when Nikita Mazepin spun off at T4 it was a largely uneventful morning, with most of the running done on Pirelli's medium tyres.

That said, while Ricciardo and Bottas posted their best times on the mediums, those of Raikkonen, Hulkenberg and Hartley were set on softs, while Alonso's best was on Supersofts.

Early signs are that Mercedes is as fast and bulletproof as ever, while Renault appears to have made significant progress over the winter.

Clearly Renault isn't alone in making progress however, for Ricciardo's best time (1:20.179) is quicker than the best time posted on Day 1 last year, when Lewis Hamilton topped the sheets with a 1:21.765 posted on softs. Indeed, Bottas, Raikkonen and Hulkenberg also eclipsed Hamilton's 2017 best.

This afternoon sees Lewis Hamilton take over the Mercedes, while Carlos Sainz takes over the Renault and Sergey Sirotkin the Williams from Lance Stroll.

Check out our Monday gallery from Barcelona, here.

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