“I’ve been testing the 2018 car in preparation but this one felt a bit more serious and it ignited a little bit the competitive spirit. It was great to feel the modern cars and experience what they can do.”

The Spaniard said the test ticked off some basic items which would help maximise the one and a half days of pre-season testing available next year.

Some other teams had questioned the fairness of allowing him to test, with Ferrari unable to run new Spanish signing Carlos Sainz. No active F1 drivers were allowed to take part.

Mercedes had Formula E drivers Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne and they were second and third respectively. Ferrari ran Russian Robert Shwartzman and Italian Antonio Fuoco, a factory simulator driver.

AlphaTauri tested Japan’s Yuki Tsunoda, likely to step up to the F1 team next season in place of Russian Daniil Kvyat.

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Formula Two champion Mick Schumacher and runner-up Callum Ilott tested for Haas and Alfa Romeo with Schumacher, 21, doing 125 laps but last on the timesheets.

“The key point from today was just to understand the tyres a little more,” said the German. “I think we achieved that, and I now have a pretty good knowledge of what I need to do although the tyres might be a bit different next year.

“I feel very comfortable, I know the team’s happy, so that’s good.”

Reuters



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