Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel set a 1.19.024 at the Circuit de Catalunya during the morning session of the third day of the second F1 pre-season test, despite backing out during the end of the lap.
The German driver was involved in sandbagging techniques, but set exceptional lap-times on the soft, super-soft and ultra-soft tyres. During his soft tyre run, Vettel was just 0.1s adrift of the lap set by Valtteri Bottas yesterday.
Vettel soon pipped the Finn driver to claim the status of the ‘fastest lap in 2017’ with the ultra-soft tyres, however more is to come from the Ferrari after Vettel backed off in the final sector.
Ferrari, who have been tipped as favourites by both Lewis Hamilton and Niki Lauda, not just led the leaderboards, but ran 8 more laps than closest rival Mercedes; Marcus Ericsson led the mileage race with 88 laps on the board, then came under fire rookie Lance Stroll with 85 laps.
Next up was the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, who set his quickest lap on the super-soft tyres: a 1.19.352s, and was some three tenths shy of the sandbagging Sebastian Vettel.
Ocon in the Force India was third behind Ferrari and Mercedes with a competitive 1.20.161, despite Force India finding ‘weaknesses’ with their 2017 car.