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F1 - Barcelona II, day 3: Vettel quickest on penultimate test day

With a new track record

8 March 2018 - 18h21, by Olivier Ferret 

Sebastian Vettel broke the circuit record set yesterday by Daniel Ricciardo by almost a second to top the timesheets on the penultimate day of pre-season Formula 1 testing in Barcelona. The Ferrari ended the day over a second clear of nearest rival Kevin Magnussen of Haas, as other frontrunners sent much of the day on long runs.

Vettel’s table topping time arrived in morning session as the German sampled the hypersoft Pirelli tyres. And as the bulk of drivers, including Vettel, moved to race simulations in the afternoon the benchmark stood until the chequered flag fell.

Vettel also topped the lap count chart for drivers notching 188 laps edging Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen by a single lap by virtue of laps completed while conducting standing starts at the end of the session.

Ferrari’s likely rivals for podium honours this season, Mercedes and Red Bull, had relatively low-key outings, with Lewis Hamilton finishing eighth for Mercedes, just over two tenths ahead of ninth-place team-mate Valtteri Bottas. Both drivers set their best time on medium tyres.

Verstappen, meanwhile, spent most of the day on soft tyres, though he did try a non-performance run on the ultrasoft in the morning on his way to 12th place.

Vettel finished 1.178s ahead of Haas driver Kevin Magnussen who set his quickest time on supersoft tyres. Third place went to Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly, who posted a lap 1:18.363 in the final hour to finish just 0.003s behind Magnussen. Gasly also posted the day’s third biggest lap total behind Max and Vettel, getting through 169 laps.

Nico Hulkenberg finished fourth in the works Renault, finishing five hundredths of a second ahead of team-mate Carlos Sainz as both tried the hypersoft tyre.

Elsewhere, after a troubled second day in Barcelona, McLaren bounced back today, with Stoffel Vandoorne slotting into sixth place and adding 151 laps to the Woking team’s tally. The Belgian driver finished ahead of Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, the Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Bottas and the Williams of Robert Kubica. Sergio Perez was 11th for Force India ahead of Max and the table was propped by Williams’ Lance Stroll.

01 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari SF71H 1:17.182 188 HS
02 Kevin Magnussen Haas VF-18 1:18.360 153 SS
03 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso STR13 1:18.363 169 HS
04 Nico Hulkenberg Renault RS18 1:18.675 79 HS
05 Carlos Sainz Renault RS18 1:18.725 69 HS
06 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren MCL33 1:18.855 151 HS
07 Marcus Ericsson Sauber C37 1:19.244 148 SS
08 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W09 1:19.296 84 M
09 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W09 1:19.532 97 M
10 Robert Kubica Williams FW41 1:19.629 73 SS
11 Sergio Pérez Force India VJM11 1:19.634 159 HS
12 Max Verstappen Red Bull RB14 1:19.842 187 S
13 Lance Stroll Williams FW41 1:20.276 67 S

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