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Early start for Mercedes’ Barcelona test

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(GMM) Mercedes got its Barcelona test off to an early start on Sunday.

At the same time, the rest of the F1 world was only setting up at the Circuit de Catalunya ahead of Tuesday’s kick-off for the second of three pre-Melbourne group tests.

Mercedes, however, trod a different path recently by keeping its 2012 car under development at its Brackley factory while main rivals including Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren got their test campaigns up and running.

Again running Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg this year, Mercedes took its old car to Jerez and then sat out the last of the four days of testing.

Therefore allowed to make up the day in Barcelona on Sunday, and although details and laptimes are scant, it has emerged that both Schumacher and Rosberg ran the new stepped-nose W03 and completed more than a race distance.

“Michael and Nico’s first impressions are positive,” Mercedes’ Norbert Haug told Bild newspaper.

Also in action at the weekend was Williams, whose test driver Valtteri Bottas ran the new FW34 for an aerodynamic test at the Idiada facility in Spain.

“I am glad I got some time to get used to the car before my test date in Barcelona,” he is quoted by Finland’s Turun Sanomat.

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