After dominating the weekend in Barcelona, Nico Rosberg carried over that momentum – and pace – to lead the first day of Formula 1’s first in-season test.
Rosberg banked 146 laps on the first day at the Circuit de Catalunya, with his morning time of 1:24.374 fastest on a new, unmarked compound of Pirelli rubber in the Mercedes W06.
Marcus Ericsson was second, albeit a full two seconds back in his Sauber Ferrari.
A number of young drivers made appearances on the opening day of the test.
Raffaele Marciello returned to Ferrari for his first on-track running since an FP1 appearance for Sauber in Malaysia.
Nick Yelloly made his debut for Force India, deputizing for an unwell Pascal Wehrlein, while Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) and Oliver Turvey (McLaren) also were out. Each of these three made their first F1 on-track appearances this season.
1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:24.374, 146
2. Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:26.624, 98
3. Raffaele Marciello Ferrari 1:26.648, 125
4. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:26.904, 101
5. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:27.338, 60
6. Nick Yelloly Force India 1:27.396, 109
7. Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:27.639, 131
8. Felipe Massa Williams 1:27.911, 54
9. Oliver Turvey McLaren 1:28.542, 68
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.