Daniel Ricciardo topped the timesheet on the opening day of testing ahead of the 2018 Formula 1 season, setting a time of 1:20.179 to finish just under two tenths of a second clear of Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas.
After making its track debut in the one-off 'Special Edition Disruption' livery last week, the new RB14 returned to our classic matte finish racing colours for the opening day of testing and in a cold morning session Daniel covered 60 laps and took to spot with ahead of Bottas. Both drivers used the medium compound Pirelli tyres for their times.
Daniel completed a further 45 laps in the afternoon to also top the lap chart for the day with a total of 105 but conditions worsened late on, with the Aussie breaking the century mark in wet conditions.
"That was... cold! But apart from that it was good," said Daniel afterwards. "In the morning when it was dry everything was fine but in the afternoon the conditions were really tricky. It's hard to get anything working with tyres in these temperatures, especially as they've also re-laid the surface. When the temperature there it's good, but when it's cold there really isn't any grip!
"However, it was still a good day and we got over 100 laps done, with, I think, one run of 35 laps. So reliability was solid and hats off to everyone for that," he added. "Performance? Yeah, It's nice to see yourself at the top of the timesheets but in two-degree temperatures you really can't learn anything!"
Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin was pleased with the team's effort on day one, saying that the reliability was testament to the hard work put in at the factory over the winter.
"The fact that this year we had the car finished ahead of schedule certainly helped I think," he said. "Just having that deadline of last week's filming day meant we had to be able to fire the car up and run. And I think the value of that deadline shows in what we got done today, which is certainly the largest lap total for a first day of pre-season testing that we've had in some time.
"It's a validation of some of the changes we made over the winter. It was a good outing, we got a lot of laps under our belt and we had good reliability. That's all you can ask for. It is day one and we take nothing for granted, but overall, we're pretty pleased with what we achieved."
Testing continues tomorrow with Max Verstappen set to get his first taste of the new RB14.