BARCELONA, Spain – A few days after a dominating performance in the Spanish Grand Prix, the Mercedes squad was at it again on Tuesday during testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Valtteri Bottas put Mercedes on top of the practice charts with a impressive 1:15.511 lap, which fell .1 of a second off Bottas’ pole lap from Saturday.
“Today’s test day has been really good. We completed a lot of laps and learned a lot,” Bottas said. “Our program focused on the tyres and setup. We collected lots of data over the race weekend in similar conditions to what we had today in terms of temperature and wind, so it was nice to do some setup comparisons. There were some new mechanical test items on the car too which were interesting to try out. Everyone did a really good job after a long weekend, so it’s been another successful day.”
There was a bizarre moment for Bottas early in the day, however, when he left his pit box while carrying aero rakes on the car. With the sensors making the car much wider, Mercedes hadn’t accounted for the extra clearance it would need and two orange cones they had set up were collected by the rakes, with one falling off as Bottas drove down the pit lane and the other remaining attached for a full lap.
Second fastest was Charles Leclerc for Ferrari, who fell 1.4 seconds off the pace set by Bottas. The biggest difference was that Bottas was using the fastest tire compound available, which accounted for a large portion of his impressive speed.
The Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat was third fastest, followed by Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly.