Lewis Hamilton has clinched top spot on the times for Mercedes on the final day of the opening Formula 1 pre-season test from McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne as Red Bull hit trouble.

The reigning F1 world champion returned to testing action in the early afternoon having previously completed just 25 laps in the first test after being restrained by the snow and rain which has hampered the test.

Hamilton, who spent the majority of the day using the Pirelli medium tyres, notched up the best lap of 1m 19.333s within the final two hours having briefly led the times before only to see his lap time deleted for cutting the chicane. The British driver produced a total of 69 laps on the day which provided the best circuit conditions of the four-day test.

Vandoorne oversaw the bulk of the McLaren running, handing over to teammate Fernando Alonso with three hours of the day remaining, which enabled the Belgian driver to enjoy 110 trouble-free laps and take second on the overall timesheet on a day which saw 15 of the 20 total race drivers in action.

Red Bull were the biggest strugglers on the final day of the first test with Verstappen completing the fewest laps of ay driver with just 35 after missing the bulk of the morning track time due to the drying conditions followed by an off at turn 12 which stranded the Dutch driver in the gravel and trigger a red flag stoppage.

Ferrari also made up for lost testing mileage after the earlier weather issues as Sebastian Vettel produced over a century of laps while also ending the year third fastest with his best time set on the yellow-banded soft tyres.

Kevin Magnussen impressed for Haas by taking fourth on the final timesheet with a best time of 1m 20.317s with a total of 86 laps with the VF-18. Behind the Danish driver Alonso provided a late challenge up the times to go fifth having stepped in for Vandoorne in the final three hours, with Carlos Sainz at Renault handed a similar opportunity to take over from Nico Hulkenberg who had completed 49 laps.

Williams were another team to split its driver duties with F1 rookie Sergey Sirotkin enjoying an untroubled 47 laps in the morning before handing over to Lance Stroll who surpassed his total to see a tidy half-century in the better afternoon weather.

Sergio Perez made his 2018 F1 debut in the Force India VJM11 on the final day of the first test after losing Wednesday’s test day due to the snow and rain and completed a low-key 65 laps.

Toro Rosso underlined Honda’s newfound reliability at the start of its fresh power unit partnership as Pierre Gasly complied 147 trouble-free laps to tick off the team’s priority of curing the Japanese manufacturer reliability woes from last year.

Alfa Romeo Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc completed the tail-end of the F1 timesheet with the Swedish driver going off at turn 2 with his teammate suffering a similar fate at turn 3 which triggered two separate red flag periods.

F1 testing takes a four-day break ahead of the second and final pre-season test at Circuit de Catalunya next week.


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