Mercedes continue to dominate during testing

Mercedes followed up their impressive one-two finish in Bahrain by dominating Day One of Formula 1’s return to full in-season testing at Sakhir, with Nico Rosberg setting the pace during his 121 completed laps. Apart from a one-off test at Mugello in 2012, Formula 1 has had a ban on full in-season testing outside of race weekends since the end of the 2008 season, but those rules have been changed to allow four two-day testing runs throughout this season.

Bahrain is the first venue to host the in-season testing and it was little surprise to see Mercedes continue their stunning start to the season that sees them favourites with Betfair to dominate F1 this season. Following on from his thrilling second place finish on the Sunday behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton, in a race that had Betfair fans to-ing and fro-ing throughout the race, it was Nico Rosberg that set the pace with a lap of 1:35.697 on a track Mercedes have looked comfortable on all weekend.

Force India, who had an encouraging and deserved third and fifth finish in Bahrain, were Mercedes’ closest challengers again on the track at Sakhir, with Nico Hulkenberg coming in ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and McLaren Kevin Magnussen in an 11-car line-up on the first of the two days of testing in Bahrain.

After a fairly dismal opening three races of the season, this testing comes at a particularly good time for Ferrari. Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen struggled to disappointing ninth and tenth place finishes in Bahrain – despite both being tipped by Betfair punters to be challenging much higher up the grid.

The Italian team used the testing session as a chance to use sizeable aero-measuring devices on the mis-firing F14 T and used their 69 laps to work on electronic configuration tuning and set-up work. Alonso completed a series of shorter runs later in the session, during which he clocked his best 1:36.626 time to climb ahead of Magnussen, but it remains to be seen whether the Spaniard will be in the minds of Betfair visitors heading into the Chinese Grand Prix.
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