Abu Dhabi F1 test: Mercedes' Bottas fastest, Ocon makes Renault bow

Scott Mitchell
Bottas fastest as Ocon makes Renault bow in test

Esteban Ocon made his debut appearance as a Renault Formula 1 race driver on the opening day of the post-Abu Dhabi Grand Prix tyre test, which was topped by Valtteri Bottas.

Ocon replaces Nico Hulkenberg alongside Daniel Ricciardo in Renault's driver line-up for next season and got behind the wheel of the team's 2019 car for the first time on Tuesday.

He clocked 77 laps and set the eighth-fastest time, lapping 2.8 seconds off the pace.

Bottas fastest as Ocon makes Renault bow in test

That was set by Mercedes' Bottas, who was the busiest driver early on before ending the day with a 138-lap tally - only Max Verstappen (153) and Romain Grosjean (146) completed more.

Each team has 10 sets of tyres to use on each day of the two-day test, with a mix of 2019 compounds and the controversial '20 rubber.

Teams have five different 2019 compounds and six '20 compounds to choose from.

Bottas's benchmark time, a 1m37.124s set on the 2019 C4 compound, was eight tenths of a second faster than the next-best, set by Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari.

Vettel lost an hour of running in the morning with an exhaust issue, but eventually racked up just two fewer laps than Bottas on his way to a 1m37.911s on the 2020 version of the softest C5 compound.

Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat set the third-fastest time, a second behind Bottas, ahead of Sergio Perez's Racing Point and Grosjean's Haas - with all three using the 2020 C5.

Perez and Vettel were also involved in a clash at Turns 11 and 12 at the end of the second straight.

Kvyat shared his Toro Rosso with Sean Gelael, with the Formula 2 driver taking part in the first half of the day.

Gelael ended the day 11th fastest, 4.5s off the pace, and quicker only than surprise Williams tester Roy Nissany.

Bottas fastest as Ocon makes Renault bow in test

Sometime F2 racer Nissany's 2020 C3-shod fastest time was 7.6s slower than Bottas, 4.4s slower than George Russell after taking over from the regular Williams race driver in the afternoon, and 3.1s slower than the next car (Gelael's Toro Rosso).

Alfa Romeo brought Kimi Raikkonen's day to a premature end because of a "technical issue".

Tuesday times

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m37.124s - 138
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m37.991s 0.867s 136
3 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Honda 1m38.183s 1.059s 72
4 Sergio Perez Racing Point/Mercedes 1m38.434s 1.310s 120
5 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m39.526s 2.402s 146
6 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1m39.741s 2.617s 125
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1m39.926s 2.802s 153
8 Esteban Ocon Renault 1m39.962s 2.838s 77
9 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1m40.368s 3.244s 87
10 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1m40.903s 3.779s 93
11 Sean Gelael Toro Rosso/Honda 1m41.640s 4.516s 67
12 Roy Nissany Williams/Mercedes 1m44.760s 7.636s 41

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