Sebastian Vettel tops F1 times in first Barcelona test
2016 Formula One cars revealed during pre-season testing
Formula One fans caught their first glimpses of the new cars in on the track during pre-season testing in Barcelona on Monday ahead of the 2016 campaign.
With the curtain-raising race in Australia less than a month away, the teams began to finesse their preparations as the racing nears a return - with Sebastian Vettel the fastest during the session.
The four-time world champion was the quickest in Catalonia with a lap time of 1:24.939 in his Ferrari. The German was seen taking to the track with an aerodynamic device which is used to measure airflow.
Defending champion Lewis Hamilton finished second-fastest during Monday's session in a time of 1:25.409.
The 31-year-old was the first car out on the track for pre-season testing in Barcelona and ended up completing the most laps of anyone. The Brit did 156 laps - 87 more than Vettel - with Marcus Ericsson the next on this list with 88 laps.
Hamilton didn't waste any time in getting into the driver's seat to try out the new Mercedes, which he will attempt to drive to a third consecutive championship this year.
He was one of the 11 drivers scheduled to test their cars on Monday, the first of four days of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona in Spain.
Romain Grosjean of Haas and Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull were also among the early drivers. Ricciardo finished third-fastest with 1:26.044. Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg were seen showing off Force India's car for 2016. Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso was also on the track, his car plain with sponsors yet to be revealed.
Brit Jolyon Palmer was also driving his Renault in Spain ahead of the first race of the season on March 20 in Australia. He completed 37 laps with his best time of 1:29.356, while compatriot Jenson Button managed 84 laps with his best time being 1:26.735.
Mercedes have dominated the last two F1 seasons and with no major regulation changes for 2016, are expected to be a step ahead of the other teams yet again.
Hamilton, winner of the last two driver championships, is bidding to become the first Briton to claim four titles, while his team will aim to strengthen their stranglehold on the sport which has seen them triumph in 32 of the last 38 races.
Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg unveiled the car themselves early on Monday. German Rosberg is scheduled to take to the track on Tuesday.
It appears similar to the model the they drove last year but Mercedes technical director Paddy Lowe has insisted there small differences that will bolster both Hamilton and Rosberg.
'While the car may look very similar to its predecessor from the outside - as is inherent within stable regulations - underneath there are quite a lot of mini revolutions that make up an overall evolution for the new season,' Lowe said.
'This year is another carry-over year from a regulatory point of view and potential gains inevitably become harder to find under these circumstances. It's far easier to find performance when you have a new set of rules, that's for sure.'