Formula 1 2020: Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas produces quickest lap of preseason testing so far; Ferrari suffer engine problem

Valtteri Bottas lapped close to record pace as he put Formula One champions Mercedes back on top of the testing timesheets on Friday, but Ferrari suffered an engine problem.

Reuters February 21, 2020 19:13:50 IST
Formula 1 2020: Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas produces quickest lap of preseason testing so far; Ferrari suffer engine problem
  • Valtteri Bottas produced the quickest lap of Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya so far in the first pre-season test of 2020

  • Renault’s Esteban Ocon was second fastest, 1.370 slower but with 76 laps on the board

  • Ferrari said the engine problem would be investigated back at the Maranello factory, and a new engine was being fitted for afternoon

Barcelona: Valtteri Bottas lapped close to record pace as he put Formula One champions Mercedes back on top of the testing timesheets on Friday, but Ferrari suffered an engine problem.

Formula 1 2020 Mercedes Valtteri Bottas produces quickest lap of preseason testing so far Ferrari suffer engine problem

Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas in action during the 2020 preseason testing in Barcelona. AP

The Finn, whose team mate Lewis Hamilton is aiming to equal Michael Schumacher’s record seven titles, produced the quickest lap of Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya so far in the first pre-season test of 2020.

Bottas’s time of one minute 15.732 in the morning session was three tenths slower than the outright circuit lap record of 1:15.406 he set in qualifying for last year’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Bottas had also completed 65 laps, one short of a full race distance, by lunchtime.

Renault’s Esteban Ocon was second fastest, 1.370 slower but with 76 laps on the board.

Max Verstappen, who did 168 laps on Wednesday, again pounded out more than any other driver in the morning with a total of 86.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was ninth of the 10 drivers on track, although lap times are of little significance at this stage of the season with teams running on different fuel levels, but stopped two and a half hours into the session with 40 laps done.

The session was suspended for 20 minutes while the car was recovered.

Ferrari said the engine problem would be investigated back at the Maranello factory. A new engine was being fitted for the afternoon session.

Mercedes-powered Williams also brought out the red flags when Canadian rookie Nicholas Latifi stopped on the pit straight. He ended up last on the timesheets.

The season starts in Australia on 15 March.

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