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Valtteri Bottas sets pace as Mercedes continue to dominate Barcelona test

Bottas posted a quickest time of one minute and 19.705 seconds as he completed 75 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya.

F1 01/03/17 13:36
Valtteri Bottas sets pace as Mercedes continue to dominate Barcelona test

Valtteri Bottas set the fastest lap of pre-season as Mercedes continued to ramp up their dominance on day three of the opening Formula One test.

The reigning world champions have been the class of the field in Barcelona this week and they showed little signs of easing up on their relentless pace on Wednesday.

Bottas, who hands over the reins to his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton on Wednesday afternoon, posted a quickest time of one minute and 19.705 seconds as he completed an impressive 75 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya circuit.

Indeed, Bottas’s time would have been quick enough to seal pole position for every race staged at the circuit since its configuration changed in 2007.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was 1.4 seconds adrift of the Mercedes with Britain’s Jolyon Palmer third in the order.

Palmer’s day got off to a troubled start after he lost control of his Renault at turn three and span into the gravel.

The 26-year-old Briton returned to the track after a series of repairs to his car and delivered a decent haul of 51 laps.

While little can be read into lap times at this stage of the season, Palmer, who will be replaced by team-mate Nico Hulkenberg for the afternoon session, will still be pleased to occupy third in the standings as he hopes to build on the solitary point he scored in his debut year.

McLaren have endured a difficult week in Barcelona with their hapless Honda engine suffering a host of reliability issues.

Double world champion Fernando Alonso was back in the car on Wednesday morning and managed to get 28 laps under his belt, but the Spaniard was a distant four seconds off Bottas.

Hamilton, who did not see world champion Nico Rosberg following his brief appearance in the paddock on Wednesday morning, takes over from Bottas after lunch.

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