Fernando Alonso set the fastest time the day as Formula One’s final in-season test got underway in mixed conditions at Silverstone.
Alonso’s table-topping time of 1:31.290 was set on the supersoft tyres in the largely dry morning session and was good enough to see 1.5s clear of Mercedes’ Esteban Ocon on a day when just four Formula One race drivers took to the track. Ocon in turn finished over 1.5s ahead of third-placed Williams tester Alex Lynn.
Alonso’s morning time was 0.450 quicker than his best time in qualifying for last weekend’s British Grand Prix but there was no chance for anyone to improve on the benchmark as shortly before an early lunch break rain began to fall across the circuit meaning that the rest of the day’s running would see teams migrate to full wet and intermediate tyres.
Mercedes junior programme driver Ocon has been loaned to Renault this year as the team’s third and reserve driver and tested for the French squad at 2016’s first in-season test in Barcelona but today he returned to the Silver Arrows’ fold for his first taste of the W07.
The French youngster posted the day’s largest lap total of 123, completing 80 laps in the morning before putting in another busy shift in the afternoon on his way to a best time of 1:32.833.
Third-placed Lynn, meanwhile, posted just 54 laps, with the Briton doing his morning running on the medium tyres before spending much of the afternoon in the afternoon.
Williams’ tally wasn’t as poor as Ferrari’s, however. Ferrari Driver Academy member and GP3 title leader Charles Leclerc was getting his first taste of F1 machinery at a test but the young Monegasque only managed 17 laps all day as he was restricted to the Ferrari garage for long period of the morning session and then he completed just a single lap in the afternoon.
Leclerc did manage to set the day’s fourth-fastest time, however, just over one hundredth of a second behind Lynn.
Behind Leclerc was nother F1 debutant, Russia’s Nikita Mazepin who was driving for Force India. The 17-year-old set the fifth fastest time, eight hundredths of a second behind Leclerc but like others Force India sat out the afternoon session.
After a clutch of ne talent came the comparatively superannuated 21-year-olod Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard had a busy morning posting 77 laps before a quieter afternoon session that resulted in him adding just 14 more laps to his total for the day before the Italian squad ended its running early.
Haas, meanwhile, gave a debut to US racer Santino Ferrucci who finished ahead of Pascal Wehrlein, who was piloting a 2014 Mercedes car in order to test 2017 tyre constructions for Pirelli, but all the German’s work was done in the morning as the Italian tyre manufacturer has brought just dry compounds for its test.
Wehrlein still managed to finish ahead of Manor team-mate Rio Haryanto and Renault’s Sergey Sirotkin.
The order was propped up by Red Bull Racing’s Pierre Gasly. The Frenchman, fresh from a GP2 win at the weekend at Silverstone, endured a frustrating morning as he was restricted to the garage for most of the session while his team fixed electronics issues.
He completed 52 laps in total with the vast majority being turned in the wet conditions of the afternoon, leaving him in P11 at the end of the day.
Formula One Testing – Silverstone Day One
1 F. Alonso McLaren 1:31.290 105
2 E. Ocon Mercedes 1:32.833 123
3 A. Lynn Williams 1:34.433 54
4 C. Leclerc Ferrari 1:34.446 19
5 N. Mazepin Force India 1:34.521 35
6 C. Sainz Toro Rosso 1:34.643 91
7 S. Ferrucci Haas 1:34.866 55
8 P. Wehrlein Pirelli 1:34.982 48
9 R. Haryanto Manor 1:35.631 64
10 S. Sirotkin Renault 1:36.575 48
11 P. Gasly Red Bull 1:43.891 52