Vettel Ends Penultimate Day of Pre-Season Testing with Record Lap Time

Sebastian Vettel topped day three in Spain
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

For the second consecutive day, the unofficial lap record around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was broken during pre-season testing, with Sebastian Vettel becoming the first driver to ever set a time underneath seventy-eight seconds.

All ten teams managed more than one hundred laps each on Thursday, and it was Vettel and Scuderia Ferrari that led the way on lap count as well, with the German completing a mammoth one hundred and eighty-eight laps, with his best lap of 1:17.182s more than a second clear of anyone else.

Kevin Magnussen completed one hundred and fifty-three laps for the Haas F1 Team, with the Dane ending second fastest, albeit 1.178 seconds behind Vettel, but 0.003 seconds ahead of Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda’s Pierre Gasly, who completed one hundred and sixty-nine laps.

The Renault Sport Formula One Team again split their day between their two race drivers, with Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. ending fourth and fifth fastest respectively, with the duo completing one hundred and forty-eight laps between them.

The McLaren F1 Team had by far their most positive day of pre-season testing so far, with Stoffel Vandoorne completing one hundred and fifty-one laps in the MCL33, with his best time good enough for sixth fastest, while Marcus Ericsson ended seventh for the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team, with the Swede completing just three laps fewer than Vandoorne.

Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton were eighth and ninth respectively on a low-key day for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team, with the duo completing eighty-four and ninety-seven laps respectively, while Robert Kubica rounded out the top ten for Williams Martini Racing, completing seventy-three laps before he handed the FW41 over to Lance Stroll.

Sergio Perez ended eleventh for the Sahara Force India F1 Team, with the Mexican completing one hundred and fifty-nine laps, while Max Verstappen completed one hundred and eighty-seven laps in finishing twelfth fastest for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, ahead only of Stroll, who completed sixty-seven laps of his own to bring Williams’ tally to one hundred and forty on the day.

The amount of running was aided by the lack of stoppages, with only one red flag affecting the day when Ericsson spun into the turn four gravel trap with a little over an hour remaining.