McLaren's woeful F1 preseason goes on as Mercedes and Ferrari continue strong starts to testing

With a quarter of testing done McLaren have only managed 69 laps

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McLaren’s season took another early step towards disaster before it has even started as they were again plagued with reliability issues during the second day of troubled testing.

Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne were together restricted to only 40 laps and were forced to watch on as first Lewis Hamilton and then Valtteri Bottas paraded the exemplary reliability of the Mercedes at the Circuit de Catalunya.

McLaren may have won a combined 20 drivers' and constructors' championships in the sport, but they have fallen dramatically down the grid in recent years and their renewed relationship with Japanese engine supplier Honda has been thoroughly disappointing.

And after Fernando Alonso missed the majority of the opening day in his Spanish homeland with an oil leak, Stoffel Vandoorne, the Belgian driver who has replaced Jenson Button this year, also fell foul to further woes from the team's unreliable engine.

There were early signs of trouble for the British team here when Vandoorne stopped at the entry to the pit lane after completing only a handful of laps. He then had to be pushed back to his garage by the McLaren mechanics.

Shortly before lunch, Vandoorne then lost power from his engine which had to be replaced. He lost more crucial time and while he re-emerged in the latter stages of the day, added just 11 further laps to his morning tally.

Vandoorne finished ahead of only Lance Stroll - the Canadian teenager whose Williams team were forced to abort their schedule on Tuesday following damage he sustained in a spin - in both the time he set and total mileage.

And with a quarter of testing, before the new season gets under way in Melbourne next month, now completed, McLaren have managed only 69 laps, the equivalent of a little more than one race distance of this Barcelona track. Mercedes, in contrast, have a mammoth 320 laps under their belt.

For once, however, it was not Hamilton's name at the top of the order, but that of Kimi Raikkonen as Ferrari continued their strong start to winter testing.

The Finnish veteran's best lap of one minute and 20.960 seconds was marginally faster than Hamilton, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen 1.2 seconds off the pace in third.

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McLaren's unreliable engine suffered power failure in Barcelona (Getty)

Jolyon Palmer, the only other Briton on the Formula One grid this season following Button's retirement, missed the entirety of the morning session as Renault fitted new parts to his car which had arrived overnight.

But the 26-year-old took to the track after lunch and ran for 53 laps, finishing 3.1 seconds adrift of Raikkonen.

Hamilton and Bottas will continue to share testing duties for Mercedes on Wednesday with Alonso, the double world champion, scheduled to return for McLaren. The test concludes on Thursday.

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