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Leclerc sets early pace for Ferrari as Barcelona F1 test begins

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc posted the fastest lap time in the early hours of the first day of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Formula 1's first pre-season test of 2022 got underway in Barcelona on Wednesday morning, with all 10 teams running their new cars. Chilly but sunny conditions greeted the field for the start of the three-day event, which is classified by F1 as "a lower key, pre-testing track session", prior to the "official pre-season test" being held in Bahrain. Leclerc was the early pace-setter for Ferrari as he worked his way down to a time of 1:21.718 on the C2 Hard compound tyre, half a second clear of Max Verstappen (also on C2 Hards), who debuted the 'real' RB18. Red Bull's new car raised eyebrows when it emerged from the garage, with an aggressive-looking design revealed after the team's cautious car launch and secretive shakedown at Silverstone last week. Ferrari and Red Bull were also the most productive teams over the first two hours of track action, with Leclerc and Verstappen racking up 37 laps and 40 laps respectively – the best part of a race distance.

The F1 field get to grips with their new cars

Lando Norris and McLaren were next up in third spot, as they continued to build on their filming day with the MCL36, while George Russell placed fourth after his first runs in the Mercedes W13. As Russell put in the miles on track, his teammate, seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton, toured the pit lane to get an early indication of what the competition have been up to over the winter. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), Fernando Alonso (Alpine), Nicholas Latifi (Williams), Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) and Nikita Mazepin (Haas) also got times on the board, as the field gather initial data with their new cars. Alfa Romeo reserve Robert Kubica was the least productive of the drivers in action, registering four laps without posting a time. You can stay up to date with all the action from Barcelona in the dedicated RacingNews365.com live blog .

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