Valtteri Bottas put Mercedes back to the top of the timesheets as Formula 1 pre-season testing concluded at Barcelona.

Single-lap performance runs were the order of the day for most teams and following a lull after the lunch break as race simulations were conducted, Bottas shot to the top order with the second-fastest overall time of the winter

The Finn posted two quick laps in succession on Pirelli’s softest available C5 compound, with his best effort - a 1m16.196s - shading Red Bull’s Max Verstappen by just 0.073s.

Verstappen set a pair of eye-catching times to end up just 0.188s off Bottas’ benchmark on the C3 Medium compound, before strapping on a set of C5s late on and getting within 0.073s of the Mercedes driver.

Morning pacesetter Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the final day of running at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya third in the timesheets for Renault and just 0.080s adrift of Bottas.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto insisted the Italian squad was not hiding its pace as Charles Leclerc was fourth-quickest and logged a mammoth haul of 181 laps, ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who set the fifth-fastest time upon his return to action for Mercedes after an engine issue curtailed his track time on the penultimate day.

Esteban Ocon was sixth for Renault, while Sergio Perez completed more than 150 laps for the ever-impressive Racing Point outfit.

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was another driver to hit triple figures in the mileage charts as he finished eighth, with the top 10 rounded out by Williams’ George Russell and Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTuari.

The top 11 all got within a second of Bottas’ time with Romain Grosjean the last driver to do so. Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen ended the final day of testing an understated 12th.

Kevin Magnussen saw his afternoon programme hampered by a clutch issue that left him garage-bound for nearly two hours before he got back out for the final 30 minutes of the session, while Alexander Albon propped up the timesheets in 14th for Red Bull on an uninterrupted day with no red flag stoppages.

The next time F1 teams will take to the track for official running will be at the 2020 season-opening Australian Grand Prix, which takes place between March 13-15.

 

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