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Hamilton Proves AMG Mercedes No Fluke; Takes Opening Winter Test in Spain

Photo Courtesy of Mercedes

Photo Courtesy of Mercedes

Getting rid of any idea that the AMG Mercedes cars would be evenly matched against the others due to the new rules for 2017 in formula one, Lewis Hamilton quashed any idea of this by taking the first winter test day of the season at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, with an afternoon time of 1:21:765, running this best lap at the end of the day on soft tires.

This eclipsed the best time held by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who had the lead all day, but still managed to take the second-best time at 1:21:788, completing a total of 128 laps, in comparison to Hamilton’s 73, which was only run in the afternoon.

Felipe Massa took third in the Williams in which the Brazilian drove all day and posted a time of 1:22:076 for 103 laps, while Kevin Magnussen in his Haas, finished fourth by running a 1:22:894, by taking his final laps on soft tires at the end of the day.

Daniel Ricciardo took fifth in his Red Bull, but stopped at turn four in the morning session with what was diagnosed as a sensor issue. Nevertheless, the Australian managed to set a 1:22:962 for 39 laps, most of them in the afternoon, when the problem was well fixed. Valterri Bottas got his opening laps in his Mercedes in the morning sessions only, but had second place locked up until the afternoon, but still finished in sixth with a 1:23:169 for 79 laps.

Sergio Perez got as high in the order to third place, but finished seventh, while Carlos Sainz Jr. was eighth in the new-look Toro Rosso. Nico Hulkenberg took the new Renault out onto the track and slowly adjusted his maiden entry to a proper ninth place.

Fernando Alonso took tenth in his McLaren-Honda, but could only push out one lap in the morning, before having the team detect an oil systems problem, which was in a difficult position to repair. Alonso had to lose the rest of the morning to this, but the team had everything back to normal in the afternoon. However, Alonso could only finish in 10th with 29 laps run, which was a miserable eight hours of lost time.

Marcus Ericsson round off the list for the day in his Sauber, but found himself five seconds adrift from the best time set by Hamilton.

The testing will resume tomorrow and continues until Thursday.

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Mark Gero has written formula one racing stories since 2002 on the Internet for such sites as Motorsport.com, Racing Information Service News and for a brief time at the Munich Eye newspaper in Munich, Germany along with Autoweek online. Mark also has a diploma in journalism from the London School of Journalism in London, England and in addition a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa.