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Sebastian Vettel tops F1 test for Ferrari as Mercedes racks up 450 miles on day one

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Sebastian Vettel tops F1 test for Ferrari as Mercedes racks up 450 miles on day one
Feb 22, 2016, 7:22 PM

Sebastian Vettel topped the times on the first day of winter testing ahead of the 2016 Formula 1 season, as Lewis Hamilton completed the most laps ...

Sebastian Vettel topped the times on the first day of winter testing ahead of the 2016 Formula 1 season, as Lewis Hamilton completed the most laps of the day for Mercedes.

Vettel’s time of 1m24.939s, which he set shortly before the lunch break on medium compound tyres, was just under 0.5s faster than Hamilton’s best time of 1m25.409s.

The Ferrari driver also topped the first day of testing in 2015 (in Jerez), when Mercedes clocked up 157 laps. And mirroring the story this year, Hamilton completed an impressive total of 156 laps for Mercedes today, for a total of 450 miles in one day, just short of the total Nico Rosberg managed a year ago on the opening day.

"The car has been great so far. It's very similar to last year's - which is a good thing, as it gives us a great foundation to work from," said Hamilton. "It's early days, but I hope the Ferraris are up there with me and Nico this year, as that would be exciting for the fans and exciting for me too."

Lewis Hamilton

Daniel Ricciardo was third fastest for Red Bull on the day the RB12 broke cover for the first time, after the team unveiled its livery last week. The Australian driver completed the third most laps of the day with 87, just one behind the 88 circuits Marcus Ericsson managed on-board the 2015 Sauber.

Valtteri Bottas was fourth quickest for Williams, 0.47s slower than Ricciardo on 1m26.091s. Alfonso Celis Jr was fifth quickest for Force India and the team’s Mexican development driver will hand over to Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez for the rest of the test.

Jenson Button completed 84 laps for McLaren and set a best time of 1m26.735s in sixth place. This time last year the British team could only manage six laps with Fernando Alonso at the wheel in Jerez, and Eric Boullier, McLaren’s racing director, reckons the new car is already better than the MP4-30.

Jenson Button

He said: “All the numbers we've found on the car are correlating with what expected, and if you base your winter work and expectations on simulations it's a good sign.

"It means our tools are working properly, so that means we know the car is better than last year."

Carlos Sainz completed 55 laps as he took the plain-blue painted Toro Rosso to seventh place in the final day one standings, just ahead of Ericsson’s Sauber. The Swiss team is running is old car for the first test and will debut its 2016 machine on 1 March.

Pascal Wehrlein

Pascal Wehrlein was ninth fastest in Manor Racing’s new MRT05. The German driver racked up 54 laps on his debut outing for the British team, which did not take part in the corresponding test last year, to finish 3.3s behind Vettel.

Romain Grosjean was tenth quickest as Haas F1 made its F1 bow. The Frenchman completed 31 laps, the fewest of any driver as a front wing failure in the morning session curtailed the American team’s running.

Romain Grosjean

Jolyon Palmer ended the day slowest for Renault on a 1m29.356s and the British driver completed 37 laps on-board the RS16.

Results: Barcelona test one, day one:

1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m24.939s, 69 laps

2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m25.409s +0.470s, 156 laps

3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m26.044s +1.105s, 87 laps

4 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m26.091s +1.152s, 80 laps

5 Alfonso Celis Force India 1m26.298s +1.359s, 58 laps

6 Jenson Button McLaren 1m26.735s +1.796s, 84 laps

7 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1m27.180s +2.241s, 55 laps

8 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1m27.555s +2.616s, 88 laps

9 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 1m28.292s +3.353s, 54 laps

10 Romain Grosjean Haas 1m28.399s +3.460s, 31 laps

11 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m29.356s +4.417s, 37 laps

Will Scuderia Ferrari challenge Mercedes? How competitive will the Haas F1 Team be?

Do you have a burning question like these? James Allen will be answering the best questions in a special video ahead of the season opening ‪Grand Prix in Melbourne.

To take part - Like the UBS Formula 1 page using the hashtag ‪#‎AskTheF1Expert‬

Ask your questions before 25th February 13:00 GMT.

What do you make of the start of testing? Is Mercedes’ mileage more impressive than Ferrari’s fast start? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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