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Lewis Hamilton at a disadvantage as snow hits F1 pre-season testing in Barcelona

Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas has accepted he holds an early advantage over the British driver whose testing schedule has been scuppered by bad weather.

Defending champion Hamilton could finish the opening three days with only 25 laps under his belt – the least of any driver this week – after Bottas was given an entire day behind the wheel on Tuesday.

The third instalment of pre-season practice at the Circuit de Catalunya on Wednesday was effectively a washout following a deluge of snow on the outskirts of Barcelona.

In contrast to Hamilton's limited running, Bottas has already racked up 152 laps of testing, the equivalent of two and a half race distances.

Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas has accepted he holds an early advantage over the British driver whose testing schedule has been scuppered by bad weather.

Defending champion Hamilton could finish the opening three days with only 25 laps under his belt – the least of any driver this week – after Bottas was given an entire day behind the wheel on Tuesday.

The third instalment of pre-season practice at the Circuit de Catalunya on Wednesday was effectively a washout following a deluge of snow on the outskirts of Barcelona.

In contrast to Hamilton's limited running, Bottas has already racked up 152 laps of testing, the equivalent of two and a half race distances.

Hamilton, 33, was due to test on Wednesday but the track was closed for much of the morning with the medical helicopter unable to fly in the torrid conditions.

The circuit opened for business shortly before midday, but it is unlikely the teams will complete any significant running with the high risk of damage to their cars.


Fernando Alonso was the first driver to emerge from his garage as he completed one lap in his McLaren before returning to the pits. Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo headed out for only one exploratory lap, too.

Bottas finished 58 points adrift of Hamilton last season and recorded six fewer victories than his team-mate after spending much of his first Mercedes campaign in the Briton's shadow.

"Last year I did not perform on the level I should have and I learned a lot from that. It was tough because I wanted to perform after the August break but I had a few difficult races.

"I have learned massively all through my career as there have been tough times, but that is what makes you stronger and that's how you learn."

The opening winter test concludes on Thursday with four further days of practice here next week before the new season gets under way in Australia.

 


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