Formula 1

Mazepin fastest on Mercedes debut at final day of Barcelona testing

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Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Russian rookie Nikita Mazepin set the fastest time on the final day of testing in Barcelona as he made his debut for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport.

Mazepin’s time of 1:15:775 on the C5 compound tyres was even more impressive when compared with Valtteri Bottas’ time from day one, as the rookie was just two tenths slower than the Finnish regular.

Mazepin’s day didn’t go without incident as the Russian, who has previously tested for Racing Point F1 Team, took a spin on the gravel at Turn 12 just before lunch.

However, he quickly recovered and showed off what he can offer around a track with his Mercedes debut performance after running 128 laps on the second, and final, day of testing.

Just 1.3 seconds behind Mazepin was Alexander Albon who’s enjoying his first season in Formula One with Scuderia Toro Rosso.

The young Thai racer was more than a second behind on the same compound of tyre while Antonio Fuoco who was in the Scuderia Ferrari hotseat was 1.5 seconds behind the leader.

Fuoco’s time of 1:17:284 was set on the C4 compound with Charles Leclerc also 1.5 seconds off Mazepin, however he was conducting a Pirelli test on Wednesday.

The gap between themselves and Mercedes will be one Ferrari will look to close quickly as Mercedes wrapped up their fifth one-two finish in a row this season.

Mazepin wasn’t the only F1 novice to impress either as Nick Yelloly, who was called up to drive for Racing Point F1 Team for a second day, finished eighth with a time of 1:18:212 after only managing to run 20 laps in the morning session due to technical issues. The Brit made up for it in the afternoon, adding a further 63 laps to the total.

Kimi Raikkonen completed 100 laps on Wednesday, making for a more productive day for Alfa Romeo Racing after Callum Ilott’s heavy crash on Tuesday.

Renault replaced Nico Hulkenberg with Jack Aitken but went for parts reviewing rather than mileage as they ran a number of development parts around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

However Aitken was sixth overall with his time of 1:17:621 just slightly behind Raikkonen’s time of 1:17:393.

Kevin Magnussen took the reigns for Haas F1 Team who were once again putting the upgrade package they brought to the Spanish Grand Prix through its paces.

Magnussen set a time of 1:18:101 and finished seventh with his 106 lap run no doubt gathering plenty of vital data for his team.

Despite seven drivers managing a century of laps, it was a day littered with red flags, thanks to a myriad of issues.

While Mazepin spun off in the morning session, it wasn’t the only red flag before lunch. Both Nicholas Latifi, who was testing for Williams Racing, and Dan Ticktum, who was behind the Red Bull Racing car, brought out red flags in Barcelona.

And things didn’t go much smoother in the afternoon with Sergio Sette Camara suffering a mechanical fault in his McLaren F1 Team testing run.

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