Mazepin leads F1 testing on Mercedes debut despite causing red

Image by Joe Portlock/LAT

Mazepin leads F1 testing on Mercedes debut despite causing red

Formula 1

Mazepin leads F1 testing on Mercedes debut despite causing red


Nikita Mazepin marked his testing debut for Mercedes by setting the fastest time on the second day of Formula 1 testing in Barcelona, despite causing a red flag in the morning session.

The Russian — who has been carrying out simulator work for the team alongside a private testing program in a 2017 car — spun at Turn 12 and got stuck in the gravel, with the session stopped until the car was recovered. Mazepin did not let that incident faze him, however, as he duly went on to set the quickest time of they day.

Using the softest tire compound available — C5 — in the afternoon, Mazepin was running on the same tire at a similar time to Valtteri Bottas on Tuesday and was just over a quarter of a second slower than the Finn as he posted a 1m15.775s.

A late lap from Alexander Albon put Toro Rosso second on the timing screens — 1.3 seconds adrift of Mazepin — but a stoppage at Turn 10 then caused a red flag, as the fifth of the day ended running prematurely.

Third was Antonio Fuoco as the Italian made his first Ferrari appearance since 2015. Fuoco is part of Ferrari’s simulator team, and took over main duties from Charles Leclerc to post a 1m17.284s on C4 tires. That left him just 0.065s clear of Leclerc who was carrying out tire testing for Pirelli in a second Ferrari, although the compounds used are not known to the team during the test.

Kimi Raikkonen continued the Ferrari link as he ended up fifth quickest, but used the C5 as he helped Alfa Romeo recover from an expensive crash on Tuesday. Callum Ilott’s Formula 1 debut ended with a high-speed off at Turn 3 on the opening day, but Alfa Romeo was able to replace a number of parts to run without trouble on Wednesday, ending 1.6s off the pace and managing 110 laps.

Jack Aitken testing development parts for Renault and was sixth ahead of Kevin Magnussen, with the Haas race driver focusing on the upgrade package introduced during the race weekend. The update featured a new floor, front wing, bargeboards and mirrors, and marks a significant aerodynamic change for the team.

Nick Yelloly had a less productive day as he remained in the Racing Point, completing 83 laps as a number of red flag interruptions limited running. Yelloly was 0.1s off Magnussen and over 0.3s clear of one of the drivers to cause a delay, Nicholas Latifi.

The Williams reserve driver came to a stop at the pit lane exit during the morning session, but returned to the track later on and was 2.8s off the overall pace after using the softest available compound at a venue where Williams looked its most competitive in qualifying.

Dan Ticktum got another Red Bull outing and was 10th fastest but also caused the first red flag of the day, as a suspected driveline issue meant the team lost a few hours of running.

There was also trouble for McLaren as it split its running between two simulator drivers. While Oliver Turvey’s morning went smoothly, Sergio Sette Camara — racing for DAMS in Formula 2 this season — was only 19 laps into his debut for the team when he stopped on the approach to Turn 10 after lunch and did not return to action.