Nikita Mazepin fastest in F1 testing on Mercedes debut

Nikita Mazepin ensured Mercedes finished F1 Testing on top

Nikita Mazepin ensured Mercedes finished F1 Testing on top

Mazepin, a Russian F2 driver who has previously tested for Racing Point, finished with a best time of 1:15.775 on the softest C5 tyres in Barcelona, which was only two tenths of a second slower than Valtteri Bottas' best time of the test from Day One.

"Today was incredible", said Formula 2 rookie Mazepin.

"Today was incredible. Being a part of this team, even just for this day was very special for me", said the Russian, whose billionaire father tried unsuccessfully to buy the Force India (now Racing Point) team a year ago. In the afternoon we were competitive on the performance runs and the vehicle felt great. Pirelli worked through prototype constructions and compounds aimed at protecting the tyres from overheating while running behind another vehicle - a common complaint from drivers in recent years. Leclerc finished the day 0.065s off Fuoco, but as he was on different rubber and a completely different run plan, comparisons mean very little.

"The auto felt really good to drive", Fuoco said. "I really enjoyed the day and would like to thank the team for this opportunity".

Jack Aitken took over from Nico Hulkenberg at Renault and once again the team had fairly low mileage as it tested a variety of development parts.

McLaren split running between two of its simulator drivers, with Oliver Turvey managing 52 laps before the lunch break.

Dan Ticktum's day was disrupted by a stoppage out on track in the Red Bull during the morning, as the Briton finished 10th.

"I believe it's going to go down to the wire [between them]", he said. "I was able to learn some new procedures, see how the auto felt and do a few flying laps". "I think it's going to be very close all year, which is fantastic for us because they're pushing both sides of the garage along, making the vehicle faster and the team operate at a higher level".

Fourth fastest was Charles Leclerc, but the Ferrari driver was carrying out tyre testing duties for Pirelli so his programme and tyre compounds were unknown.

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