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Test Two: Day One

Maxing the mileage as second test gets underway in Barcelona.

Max Verstappen began the final week of pre-season testing ahead of the 2018 by powering through 130 laps of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The Dutchman's total included the third fastest time, 0.253s behind day one pacesetter Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.

A trouble-free morning saw Max get through 85 laps and he took up residency in third place on the timesheet with a lap run on Pirelli's medium tyres that left him just five hundredths of a second behind early leader Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes who set his quickest lap on soft tyres. Bottas was shunted to P2 just before lunchtime by Vettel, who like Max, used the medium tyre for his run.

The productive work of the morning allowed the team to take what Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin later referred to as a calculated risk with some shakedown work. That resulted in a stoppage at around 4.30pm, with Max pulling over at the first corner.

The RB14 was recovered to the pits where the battery was changed and shortly before the end of the session Max returned to the action to top out his lap count at 130. Mercedes topped the day one lap count with Bottas logging 86 laps in the morning before Lewis Hamilton worked through 91 laps in the afternoon to finish in fourth spot, 0.159s behind Max.

"It was a good day today. We did a lot of laps and that's really important, just to put mileage up on the car," said Max. "We had a small problem with the battery late in the day, so we had to change that and it takes a bit of time, but afterwards it was all good."

Commenting on the battery problem, Roquelin said: "We got through something like 85 laps in the morning and everything was running very smoothly. We got a long way through the test programme in the morning, so we were able to try out some things in the afternoon. We took the decision to do some shakedown tests and the result was a small electrical problem. We lost an hour as a result as we had to change the battery but it was a calculated risk and we learned something as a result. In all, I'm pretty happy with the amount we got through today."

The session took place in much improved conditions from last week but despite more representative running from the bulk of teams, Max was still cautious about what times reveal.

"Everyone of course wants to know where we think we are in relation to our opposition but honestly it's impossible to tell until we get to Australia, as you don't know what everyone else is doing," he said. "In terms of where this car is improved over last year, again it's very difficult to say as the new surface here changes how you drive and that, together with the new tyres, makes it difficult to pinpoint any particular area. Also, with the first week not being that successful in terms of temperatures and so on, it's still all to be discovered. I know it feels faster though!"

Elsewhere, Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly finished as best of the rest in fifth place with a best time of 1m20.973 that left him just +0.577 behind Vettel on the same tyre compound used by the Ferrari driver.

It was a mixed day for Toro Rosso, however, as despite the solid times set by Gasly a brake system problem in the afternoon restricted the Frenchman to just 54 laps.

Sixth place in the session went to Haas' Kevin Magnussen, while Nico Hulkenberg was seventh for Renault. The German's team-mate Carlos Sainz was eighth after taking over in the afternoon.

It was a tough day for McLaren, however, with the team suffering a range of issues meaning Stoffel Vandoorne was only able to post a total of 38 laps.