Published: Tue, February 28, 2017
Health Care | By Jeffery Armstrong

Times plunge as Hamilton leads first day of first Barcelona test

Times plunge as Hamilton leads first day of first Barcelona test

It was Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes who went a second quicker than the fastest time set in practice here a year ago, with 1.21.765, while the 2016 mark was also bettered by Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari and Williams' Felipe Massa.

But Alonso, who partnered Hamilton at McLaren in 2007, took exception to his remarks - and claimed the Briton might have won the title instead of Rosberg last season if he was checking the data.

Despite the strong showing from Mercedes, Ferrari enjoyed an encouraging start to its pre-season as Vettel was just 0.113s adrift in second place.

Hamilton says that is to be expected. Finland's 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen will test on Tuesday.

Mercedes will add a "shark fin" to their newly-launched 2017 vehicle for the forthcoming official testing in Barcelona.

"I went to Bahrain, drove one day for him to create references for him and the team", he said. "Lots of laps and lots of information that we've gained today", said Hamilton. "This is day one, we have to get the balance ideal, today was all about ticking off all the lists of checkpoints and getting the mileage and reliability". "Today is just really about ticking off all the lists, all the checkpoints and getting mileage for reliability".

Red Bull and McLaren had less reason to be pleased, though, as they debuted their RB13 and MCL32 cars.

Fernando Alonso managed just one lap in his new orange, black and white vehicle before being forced to return to the pits with an oil systems issue.

"He said many times that he was learning from the data", Alonso said in quotes reported by Sky Sports.

Not everyone had as good of luck as the Williams, Ferrari and Mercedes teams, however, as McLaren and Red Bull both found themselves battling gremlins with their cars during the day. "We know that we have four days for each driver and now one day is gone to prepare for the world championship". "You work for three months and at the track on the installation lap something breaks down and you lose the day".

The vehicle was returned to the pits shrouded in a tarpaulin on the back of a flatbed truck.

Daniel Ricciardo logged 50 laps.

Veteran Brazilian Felipe Massa was third fastest for Williams, with 103 laps under his belt.

Aching backs and stiff necks are likely to keep the team physios busy as drivers get up to speed at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya and begin to rack up the miles in the shiny new cars.

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