Bottas tops first day of Abu Dhabi F1 test

Ocon replaces Nico Hulkenberg alongside Daniel Ricciardo in Renault’s driver line-up for next season and got behind the wheel of the team’s 2019 car for the first time on Tuesday.

He clocked 77 laps and set the eighth-fastest time, 2.8s off the pace.

That was set by Mercedes driver Bottas, who was the busiest driver early on before ending the day with a 138-lap tally – only Max Verstappen (153) and Romain Grosjean (146) completed more.

Each team has 10 sets of tyres to use on each day of the two-day test, with a mix of 2019 compounds and the controversial 2020 rubber.

Teams have five different 2019 compounds and six 2020 compounds to choose from in the test.

Bottas’s benchmark time, a 1m37.124s, was eight tenths of a second faster than the next-best, Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari.

Vettel lost an hour of running in the morning with an exhaust issue, but eventually racked up just two fewer laps than Bottas on his way to a 1m37.911s.

He had a collision with the Racing Point of Sergio Perez during the day, and came back to the pits with a right-rear tyre puncture.

Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat set the third fastest time, a second behind Bottas, ahead of Perez and Grosjean’s Haas.

Kvyat shared his Toro Rosso with Sean Gelael, with the Formula 2 driver taking part in the first half of the day.

Gelael ended the day 11th fastest, 4.5s off the pace, and quicker only than surprise Williams tester Roy Nissany.

Sometime F2 racer Nissany was 7.6s slower than Bottas, 4.4s slower than George Russell after taking over from the regular Williams race driver in the afternoon, and 3.1s slower than the next car (Gelael’s Toro Rosso).

Alfa Romeo brought Kimi Raikkonen’s day to a premature end because of a “technical issue”.

Session results

Pos. Driver Team Tyre
Time Gap Laps
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes C4 ’19
1:37.124   138
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari C5 ’20
1:37.991 0.867 136
3 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso C5 ’20
1:38.183 1.059 72
4 Sergio Perez Racing Point C5 ’20
1:38.434 1.310 120
5 Romain Grosjean Haas C5 ’20
1:39.526 2.402 146
6 Lando Norris McLaren C5 ’20
1:39.741 2.617 125
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull C3 ’20
1:39.926 2.802 153
8 Esteban Ocon Renault C4 ’20
1:39.962 2.838 77
9 George Russell Williams C5 ’20
1:40.368 3.244 87
10 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo C4 ’19
1:40.903 3.779 93
11 Sean Gelael Toro Rosso C4 ’20
1:41.640 4.516 67
12 Roy Nissany Williams C3 ’20
1:44.760 7.636 41