Abu Dhabi F1 Test: Bottas leads Vettel to end Day 1 as Ocon returns
The first day of tyre test had the Mercedes driver head the way.
Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas ended the first day of Abu Dhabi F1 Test on top from Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel as Esteban Ocon made his official return.
With the 2019 F1 season done and dusted, teams got back on track at Yas Marina in ABu Dhabi with barely one day of holiday as the two-day Pirelli tyre test kicked-off on Tuesday. It is an important one as it will decide if teams use 2019 or 2020 tyres next year.
The US GP test run did not give the desired results and so Pirelli is banking on the Abu Dhabi running. In a trouble-free first day where FormulaRapida.net is present to follow the sessions, Bottas ended up quickest with a 1m37.124s lap.
He had Ferrari's Vettel (1m37.991s) in second as the German faced exhaust issues earlier in the day but the team managed to fix it up. Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat (1m38.183s) was third after the Russian took over the car from Sean Gelael.
Racing Point's Sergio Perez (1m38.434s) was fourth but had a small moment with Vettel at Turn 11 as Haas' Romain Grosjean (1m39.526s) in fifth bumped both McLaren's Lando Norris (1m39.741s) and Red Bull's Max Verstappen (1m39.926s).
It wasn't the day for the German with the tap from Perez after the aforementioned exhaust issue. But he can now put 2019 behind and look ahead to 2020. Having moved ahead of Norris and Verstappen, Grosjean's day ended on track with barely few minutes remaining.
The F1 returning Ocon (1m39.962s) was pushed down to eighth on his first day with Renault as the Frenchman strangely did not run as many laps. Fellow Mercedes junior George Russell (1m40.368s) was ninth in the Williams but he only drove in the morning.
Alfa Romeo Racing's Kimi Raikkonen (1m40.903s) sported a plain overalls to be 10th with Toro Rosso's Gelael (1m41.640s) in 11th and F1 newcomer Roy Nissany (1m44.760s) in 12th in the Williams after only venturing out with less than two hours remaining.
Almost every driver undertook 100+ laps barring Kvyat, Ocon, Russell, Raikkonen, Gelael and Nissany. Among them the Toro Rosso and Williams drivers shared the car and had 100+ laps combined, while technical issues halted Raikkonen to 93 laps.
The F1 teams had both the 2019 and also the 2020 tyres to select from for better assessment, with Pirelli nominating 12 sets of the 20 available while eight can be selected by the teams as per their requirement.
[Image courtesy: Mercedes] [Note: This report was also written by me on FormulaRapida.net]