Abu Dhabi F1 test: Mercedes' Bottas fastest, Ocon makes Renault bow

Scott Mitchell
Bottas fastest as Ocon makes Renault bow in test
Bottas fastest as Ocon makes Renault bow in test

Esteban Ocon made his debut appearance as a Renault Formula 1 race driver on the opening day of the post-Abu Dhabi Grand Prix tyre test, which was topped by Valtteri Bottas.

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.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

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

Bottas fastest as Ocon makes Renault bow in test
Bottas fastest as Ocon makes Renault bow in test

That was set by Mercedes' 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 '20 rubber.

Teams have five different 2019 compounds and six '20 compounds to choose from.

Bottas's benchmark time, a 1m37.124s set on the 2019 C4 compound, was eight tenths of a second faster than the next-best, set by 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 on the 2020 version of the softest C5 compound.

Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat set the third-fastest time, a second behind Bottas, ahead of Sergio Perez's Racing Point and Grosjean's Haas - with all three using the 2020 C5.

Perez and Vettel were also involved in a clash at Turns 11 and 12 at the end of the second straight.

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.

Bottas fastest as Ocon makes Renault bow in test
Bottas fastest as Ocon makes Renault bow in test

Sometime F2 racer Nissany's 2020 C3-shod fastest time 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".

Tuesday times

Pos

Driver

Car

Time

Gap

Laps

1

Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes

1m37.124s

-

138

2

Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari

1m37.991s

0.867s

136

3

Daniil Kvyat

Toro Rosso/Honda

1m38.183s

1.059s

72

4

Sergio Perez

Racing Point/Mercedes

1m38.434s

1.310s

120

5

Romain Grosjean

Haas/Ferrari

1m39.526s

2.402s

146

6

Lando Norris

McLaren/Renault

1m39.741s

2.617s

125

7

Max Verstappen

Red Bull/Honda

1m39.926s

2.802s

153

8

Esteban Ocon

Renault

1m39.962s

2.838s

77

9

George Russell

Williams/Mercedes

1m40.368s

3.244s

87

10

Kimi Raikkonen

Alfa Romeo/Ferrari

1m40.903s

3.779s

93

11

Sean Gelael

Toro Rosso/Honda

1m41.640s

4.516s

67

12

Roy Nissany

Williams/Mercedes

1m44.760s

7.636s

41

Get unlimited access to the world’s best motorsport journalism with Autosport Plus

What to read next