The 22-year-old Briton left it late to set the pace on Wednesday afternoon, having strapped on a set of Pirelli’s C4 soft tyres to lower the benchmark and become the first and only driver to dip under the 1m20s mark. 

Norris’ best lap of the day - a 1m19.568s - saw him go six-tenths clear of morning pacesetter Charles Leclerc, whose C3 benchmark held firm for much of the day.

Having taken over from Leclerc to complete the afternoon session, Carlos Sainz popped up with a time 0.251s adrift of his teammate to make it a Ferrari one-two, only for Norris to shuffle both down the order with a late flurry of improvements in his MCL36. 

Norris had a brief drama when he stopped at the end of the pitlane shortly after the lunch break, forcing his McLaren mechanics to push him back into the pits. However, he returned to the track to complete more than 100 laps.

George Russell’s morning lap was enough to keep him fourth in the order, two-tenths clear of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, who got behind the wheel of the W13 in the afternoon. In total, the Mercedes drivers managed 127 laps between them.

Sixth place went the way of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, while Yuki Tsunoda was seventh-fastest in his AlphaTauri AT03. 

Fernando Alonso took eighth in his blue and pink Alpine, ahead of reigning world champion Max Verstappen, who logged the most mileage of any driver with a strong haul of 147 laps as Red Bull prioritised getting laps on the board with its radical RB18.

Valtteri Bottas made his official debut for Alfa Romeo as he ended up 10th, ahead of fellow afternoon runner Alex Albon, who has returned to F1 with Williams for 2022. 

Floor-related issues prevented Haas from completing any meaningful running, with Mick Schumacher (12th) and Nikita Mazepin (15th) completing just 44 laps between them. 

Mazepin picked up damage that later resulted in a cooling leak, while Schumacher’s afternoon was hampered by floor problems. 

Alfa Romeo also endured a poor day in terms of mileage as it suffered from some early gremlins, with Bottas only adding 23 laps to the nine reserve driver Robert Kubica managed in the morning. 

Full results from the opening day of F1 pre-season testing at Barcelona