Lewis Hamilton scored his first session ending top time at Barcelona today, sending out an ominous message to his 2018 Grand Prix rivals...
In somewhat better conditions than has been the case so far at Barcelona, it was left to reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton to set the fastest time of the first test sessions in F1 2018 today, stopping the clocks in an impressive 1:19.333 this afternoon after taking over the W09 from team mate Valtteri Bottas, who did much of the grunt work earlier in the day in colder and damp conditions.
All the more impressive from Hamilton and Mercedes would be the fact that his session topping time was achieved on the medium compound Pirelli tyres, something of an eye opening for the other teams who would often be seen circulating on super and hypersoft boots, potentially offering a first glimpse of the raw pace enjoyed by the silver arrows...
It would be another encouraging run for the McLaren Renault team once again as the new MLC33 proved both fast and reliable, Stoffel Vandoorne enjoying well over 100 laps of the Barcelona circuit on his way to second overall in the timesheets, providing yet more much needed good news for a team that has struggled badly these last few years under Honda power.
Sadly it would be much less of a positive story over at Red Bull, with Max Verstappen once again failing to record the amount of track time either driver or team would ideally like, blotting his copybook with a session stopping off later in the day. Verstappen would be blighted by long spells in the garage before eventually managing 35 tours of the circuit prior to his beaching the car in the gravel mid afternoon, drawing to a close what would be a difficult opening four days of the new Formula One season for Red Bull Racing.
Pre-season Test 2 continues on Tuesday.
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