Williams out first as F1 pre-season testing kicks off, Bottas fastest in morning

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F1 Test, Barcelona, Circuit de Catalunyaes

Formula One 2020 pre-season testing has officially kicked off this morning at Circuit de Catalunya, where all teams are present for the first of 6 days of testing to prepare to go racing in Australia.

With all new cars at the scene, McLaren were first to get their car out of their box, but as Carlos Sainz then stopped to do a little standing start at the end of the pitlane, it was in fact George Russell who ended up on the circuit first. It's a very sharp contrast indeed for Williams, as on the first day of testing in 2019, the team didn't even have a car at their disposal.

Within the next minute, all but Ferrari were out on track. The Scuderia were likely still prepping their SF1000 car for Charles Leclerc, as the team announced 20 minutes earlier that Sebastian Vettel wasn't feeling too well, so that Leclerc would take over the wheel.

75 minutes into the session, things went smoothly for all teams, with McLaren setting the fastest time in 1:18.211, a tenth quicker than Ferrari's Charles Leclerc. McLaren was also among the busiest teams in the morning, equalling 24 laps with Mercedes, but it was Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen who completed most, with 27 laps in the first period.

Williams meanwhile sent out Russell to do 14 laps, but each time, he returned to the pits on his first or second outing, resulting in no timed laps set for the English team at that point in time.

Thoughout the morning, there were actually very few hiccups. As nearly all teams had completed a shakedown before the start of testing to verify basic reliability, there were no early surprises. Still, basic reliability is a big difference against 90+ laps, which is what Red Bull's Max Verstappen managed before noon.

Also for Mercedes there were no problems at all, and it was Bottas who set the fastest time of the morning, seemingly without much effort.

Kevin Magnussen was often seen locking up a front wheel, and at one point off the track, but without damage as he safely used the run-off strip to get back on track.

30 minutes from the end, the Racing Point RP20 was blocked in the garage for a little while when engineers found some sponsor stickers coming off of the car's nose. As the loose bits aren't particularly good for reliable aerodynamic measurements, this was first sorted before bringing the car back out 10 minutes later.