Nikita Mazepin went fastest on his Mercedes debut on Wednesday, despite an early spin, as the championship leaders finished F1 2019’s final in-season test on top of the timesheets.
Mazepin, a Russian F2 driver who has previously tested for Racing Point, finished with a best time of 1:15.775 on the softest C5 tyres in Barcelona, which was only two tenths of a second slower than Valtteri Bottas’ best time of the test from Day One.
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He recovered from a trip to the gravel before lunch.
The impressive Alex Albon finished second for Toro Rosso, 1.3seconds behind on the same compound, while Antonio Fuoco and Charles Leclerc were 1.5s off the pace for Ferrari.
Leclerc was conducting a Pirelli test on Wednesday, while Ferrari will hope to have found solutions to their F1 2019 problems with chief rivals Mercedes winners of all five races so far this season.
Kimi Raikkonen, of Alfa Romeo, and Jack Aitken were the only other two drivers within two seconds of Mazepin, with Aitken in the Renault as he enjoyed more track time after a successful start to his F2 campaign.
Mazepin wasn’t the only driver to cause a red flag in Barcelona.
Dan Ticktum, another young Brit, ground to a halt in the Red Bull in the morning, while Sergio Sette Camara’s McLaren bow was cut short after what appeared to be a mechanical fault.
The Brazilian had replaced Oliver Turvey who drove before lunch for the Woking team.
Apart from the top five, Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and Lance Stroll (Racing Point) were the only other drivers to complete over a century of laps.
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