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Charles Leclerc, Ferrari quickest on opening morning of F1 testing

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BARCELONA, Spain -- Charles Leclerc put Ferrari top of the timing sheets on the opening morning of Formula One's preseason tests.

There is growing excitement around Ferrari's 2022 car and, although the first day rarely gives a completely accurate picture of the competitive order, it was a flawless start from the Italian team.

LIVE blog: Testing in Spain

Leclerc completed 80 laps, the joint most of anyone else, and set a session-leading 1:20.165 at the Circuit de Catalunya situation just north of Barcelona.

Since its last win in 2019 Ferrari has endured two difficult seasons, but not being involved in last season's championship fight allowed the team to turn its attention to the new 2022 car earlier than the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull, who battled until the final lap of the final race of the season.

F1's most famous and longest serving team's last drivers' championship came in 2007 with Kimi Raikkonen.

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen also completed 80 laps in the striking Red Bull RB18, which made its proper track debut in the morning. The Red Bull's design caught a lot of design captured a lot of attention in the Formula One paddock on Wednesday morning, with a distinctive sidepod shape.

Although Verstappen finished sixth on the timing screens in the morning sessions, headline times at this stage can be misleading as teams are nowhere close to being able to do full performance runs.

Lando Norris was second for McLaren, 0.3s off Leclerc's pace, ahead of Lewis Hamilton's new Mercedes teammate George Russell.

Russell completed 77 laps, ironically the race number of the man he replaced this year, Valtteri Bottas. Hamilton will take over driving duties from Russell in the afternoon.

Sebastian Vettel completed 52 laps for Aston Martin, another car which has a standout car design. Fernando Alonso was seventh, ahead of Williams driver Nicholas Latifi. Nikita Mazepin was limited to just 20 laps, with Haas encountering issues with its car floor early in the session. Mazepin will hand the car over to Mick Schumacher, son of seven-time world champion Michael, for the afternoon.

Robert Kubica could only manage nine laps for Alfa Romeo, who had a difficult start to testing.

Times at lunch:

1. Charles Leclerc - Ferrari - 1:20.165 - 80 laps
2. Lando Norris - McLaren - 1:20.474 - 50 laps
3. George Russell - Mercedes - 1:20.784 - 77 laps
4. Sebastian Vettel - Aston Martin - 1:21.276 - 52 laps
5. Yuki Tsunoda - AlphaTauri - 1:21.638 - 44 laps
6. Max Verstappen - Red Bull - 1:22.246 - 80 laps
7. Fernando Alonso - Alpine - 1:23.317 - 54 laps
8. Nicholas Latifi - Williams - 1:23.379 - 66 laps
9. Nikita Mazepin - Haas - 1:24.505 - 20 laps
10. Robert Kubica - Alfa Romeo - 1:25.900 - 9 laps