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    REPORT: F1 Returns to Action in Barcelona Mercedes kicked off 2018 pr...

Mercedes kicked off 2018 pre-season testing with a largely productive first day of running at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain.

First day of pre-season testing in Barcelona

Bitterly cold temperatures, drizzly rain showers and that back to school feeling can only mean one thing... winter testing has officially begun!

Following on from the team's car launch and first shakedown run last week at Silverstone, the Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ was properly put through its paces in Barcelona.

The W09 racked up 83 laps over the course of Monday's running, with Valtteri Bottas driving the car in the morning session and Lewis Hamilton taking over in the afternoon.

Valtteri was the first driver to try out the W09 at the team's shakedown and he was also the first driver to get behind the wheel of the car at pre-season testing.

'It was really good to be back'

During his busy morning behind the wheel, he completed 58 laps and put in a best time of 1:20.349 (on the Medium tyre) just before lunchtime to go second fastest.

"Our first morning here in Barcelona was very positive," said the Finn, after climbing out of the car. "We got everything done that we had planned. The main mission for the morning was to gather aerodynamic data, so I was doing runs at constant speeds.

"I got a few practice laps for myself as well; but that kind of running was very limited. We didn't do any performance running, so I haven't pushed the W09 to its limits yet. The initial feeling of the car was good, it was behaving well. I couldn't point out any negatives compared to last year's car, only positives so far.

"It was really good to be back in the car; it felt like I haven't been away at all. It didn't take any time to get used to the car - that's a good feeling. Driving these cars is still hard work for the drivers, but I had a good training programme over the winter, so I felt physically prepared.

"The weather conditions today were a bit tricky with the cold temperatures. Neither the cars nor the tyres are made to be driven in five degrees Celsius. That's been the main challenge of the day, but that's the same for everyone. The amount of testing we can do is limited so we have to make the most of it."

'The initial feeling is good'

Lewis took over driving the team's latest F1 machine in the afternoon and lapped the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya 25 times, but rain late in the day cut short his session.

The Brit's best time of 1:22.327 - also set on the Medium tyre - was good enough for sixth place on the leaderboard, but he didn't get much chance to really see what the car can do owing to the tricky conditions.

"It's great to be back in the car after three months off, but unfortunately we didn't get the chance to complete many laps today owing to the bad weather," the four-time World Champion explained.

"The track was very cold in the afternoon, meaning it was tough to get any sort of heat into the tyres. The tyres weren't really working in these temperatures, so I could not get a real feel for them.

"I didn't really get the chance to push in the car and go up to top speeds as the conditions were so bad. It's hard for me to say a whole lot about the car because I did not drive it for a long time, but the initial feeling is good."

Lewis drives the W09 first on Tuesday, with Valtteri taking over in the afternoon.

Results: 2018 Pre-Season Test 1, Day 1:

Position Driver Team Laps Time
1 Daniel Ricciardo (3) Red Bull 105 1:20.179
2 Valtteri Bottas (77) Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport 58 1:20.349
3 Kimi Räikkönen (7) Ferrari 80 1:20.506
4 Nico Hülkenberg (27) Renault 73 1:20.547
5 Carlos Sainz (55) Renault 26 1:22.168
6 Lewis Hamilton (44) Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport 25 1:22.327
7 Fernando Alonso (14) McLaren 51 1:22.354
8 Brendon Hartley (28) Toro Rosso 93 1:22.371
9 Lance Stroll (18) Williams 46 1:22.452
10 Romain Grosjean (8) Haas 55 1:22.578
11 Marcus Ericsson (9) Sauber 63 1:23.408
12 Nikita Mazepin (34) Force India 22 1:25.628
13 Sergey Sirotkin (35) Williams 28 1:44.148

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