Daniel Ricciardo has topped the times on the opening day of Formula 1 pre-season testing at Circuit de Catalunya having seen off a late flurry of quick times before the afternoon weather dampened proceedings for the first day of the 2018 season.

The Red Bull driver notched up a 1m 20.179s in the closing minutes before the lunch break with conditions at their best on a chilly opening day of testing in Spain. Ricciardo eclipsed Bottas to take the headlines while the majority of teams focused on notching up running time with the new F1 cars.

But it was a day Red Bull would dominate having produced the highest number of laps with 104 laps to sweep the top honours.

With the temperature dropping and rain setting in during the afternoon Bottas held on to second place on the times for Mercedes despite handing over to reigning F1 world champion and teammate Lewis Hamilton in the afternoon. Hamilton endured the worst of the weather and could only notch up 25 laps in the W09 but did take seventh on the final timesheet.

Fernando Alonso had the most eventful debut days of the 2018 F1 campaign with after suffering a broken wheel nut on his McLaren MCL33 on just his seventh lap of the day which sent him into a spin in the gravel trap at turn 16.

After losing three hours of track time to an investigation into the off and repairs to the car, the Renault-powered McLaren returned to action just before the lunch break. Despite the crash Alonso produced 51 laps with a best time of 1m 21.339s but lost his best effort due after cutting the chicane to be demoted to seventh place on the final times with a best lap of 1m 22.354s.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen enjoyed an impressive debut with the SF71H with 80 laps and the third best time within two-tenths of Ricciardo with the pair both using soft tyres.

Nico Hulkenberg produced an eye-catching morning for Renault with 73 laps and the fourth fastest time before handing over to teammate Carlos Sainz in the afternoon but the Spanish driver was restrained to less than 30 laps due to the wet weather.

F1’s other new partnership, the Toro Rosso-Honda, saw the Japanese manufacturer enjoy its most productive testing day since returning to F1 in 2015 with Brendon Hartley completing 93 laps without issue.

Williams were another to split their driver duties with Lance Stroll producing 46 laps in the morning before handing over to F1 debutant Sergey Sirotkin who notched up 23 laps before the weather took a turn.

Romain Grosjean led the Haas debut of the VF-18 after unveiling the new car in the pit lane during the morning with a successful 55 laps ahead of Alfa Romeo Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson with 63 laps and Force India’s development driver Nikita Mazepin only notching up 22 laps on Monday after a spin at turn 4 in the morning curtailing his track time.

 

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