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Hamilton paces opening day of Bahrain test

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The first in-season test of the new Formula 1 season is underway with a mostly busy day at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Lewis Hamilton paced the runners in his Mercedes with a best time of 1:31.358. More to the point of the test, he was one of the busiest drivers on the day with 97 laps completed.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson led the way with 106 laps in the books, with Ferrari reserve Antonio Giovinazzi posting 93 in his first day in that car this year, Bahrain race winner Sebastian Vettel 89 laps and Haas driver Romain Grosjean 86, just a day after he turned 31 years old.

Yet more issues struck McLaren Honda, this time with test and development driver Oliver Turvey on board. The team detected a water leak in the ERS system, which prompted a full PU change to further investigate the issue. Turvey did make it out for some running near the end of the day.

Besides Giovinazzi and Turvey, other young drivers running today included Sean Gelael, the Indonesian rookie in his first day with Toro Rosso and Alfonso Celis Jr. with Force India.

Times are below, with the second day of running to come on Wednesday:

Gabby Chaves to sub for Joao Barbosa at Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen

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Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.

The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.

Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.

Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.

“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”

Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”

Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.

The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.

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