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Formula 1

Bottas flies through Formula One testing in Barcelona

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas set the fastest time of testing so far this pre-season while Fernando Alonso's McLaren suffers an engine failure

Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas in action in Barcelona. REUTERS/Albert Gea

Valtteri Bottas recorded the fastest time of testing yesterday in Barcelona. Bottas, embarking on his debut season with Mercedes after taking over from retired world champion Nico Rosberg, bettered his previous best time from last week by nearly four-tenths of a second as Mercedes reasserted their dominance at the top of the timesheets.

Mercedes driver comfortable behind the wheel

"We're definitely making good progress as a team and I'm feeling more and more comfortable in the car every time I go out on track," said Bottas.

He continued, "There's still plenty of work to do so we need to maximise the next two days of testing.

"Fastest laps don't matter in testing. What matters is where you are when you get to Melbourne (season-opener on March 26)."

Barcelona star Neymar lauded by Hamilton

Team-mate Lewis Hamilton took over from Bottas in the Mercedes for the afternoon, but was only sixth-fastest as he concentrated on longer runs in completing 79 laps.The three-time world champion found time to celebrate Barcelona's 6-1 thrashing of Paris Saint Germain along with Neymar.

Hamilton posted a picture of the Brazilian winger, who catalysed Barça's comeback with two goals in the fincal five minutes, on his Instagram account.

Elsewhere in third day of Formula One testing

In a familiar tale of the first six days of testing, two-time world champion Fernando Alonso endured another frustrating time in the beleaguered McLaren MCL32.

The Spaniard lagged 12th out of 14 drivers in action after posting just 46 laps in a series of truncated outings.

Ferrari's Raikkonen was third-fastest but missed out on most of the afternoon after his vehicle came off second best in a collision with a tyre-wall 

A forlorn-looking Fernando Alonso speaks to the press.  EFE/Toni Albir
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A forlorn-looking Fernando Alonso speaks to the press. EFE/Toni AlbirToni AlbirEFE

The 2007 world champion was unhurt but his stricken SF70H had to be towed away and was unable to run for the rest of the day.

Surprisingly, Felipe Massa was fastest in his Williams on Tuesday and the Brazilian posted another promising time just over a tenth of a second slower than Bottas in second fastest.

Dutch wonder kid Max Verstappen also suffered a late breakdown, but only after he had completed over 100 laps in the fourth-fastest time in his Red Bull.


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