There have been seven days of Formula One at Barcelona testing so far in 2017 and on the seventh day Sebastian Vettel turned the fastest lap so far this year.
Vettel riding on Pirelli’s ultrasoft tire compound posted the fastest lap so far by almost three tenths of a second. Vettel's time was almost three seconds quicker than last year’s Spanish Grand Prix pole position time of 1:22.000 set by Mercedes' Nico Rosberg. Vettel might have gone even faster but backed off in the final sector apparently masking what the new Ferrari is capable of. Ferrari also again showed impressive reliability with Vettel posting the day’s largest lap total of 156 circuits.
"The important thing is that we have completed a lot of laps and, compared to the same time a year ago, we feel better prepared because of that." said Vettel "At this point lap times don’t mean anything: we followed our programme and made progress but there’s still room for improvement.”
Following Vettel on the timesheet was Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton who finished just over three tenths off the Ferrari driver's time.
"It was good to get some laps in this morning with slightly lower fuel." said Hamilton "We worked on balance and made quite a few changes. I learned a lot about the car before handing over to Valtteri. We were trying to simulate something a bit more like qualifying and the car felt good on lower fuel. It’s great to feel it come together. I think Ferrari are bluffing and that they are a lot quicker than they are showing. They’re very close to us. It’s difficult right now to say exactly who is quicker. But they are very close, if not faster. Whatever the case, I can’t wait to go out and compete. Just a couple more weeks to go…"
Things looked brighter for Force India as Esteban Ocon gave Force India turned the day’s third best time, again set on ultrasoft tires. Ocon set a best time of 1:20.161 and posted the second largest lap total, getting through 137 laps of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
“It has been a big day in the car and I am really happy with what we achieved." said Ocon "We did some shorter runs in the morning and longer stints in the afternoon, and by the end of the day I was happy with how the car felt. I was satisfied with our pace and I think we’ve made really good progress with understanding the VJM10. The next time I will be in the car is in Melbourne and I am really excited about the start of the season. It’s been a busy winter with lots of hard work behind the scenes and now I just want to go racing!”
Fourth fastest was Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat at 1:20.416 on supersoft tires. Haas F1 also had a good outing, as Kevin Magnussen looked competitive in fifth place with a best time of 1:20.504 set on supersoft tires.
“Another good day." said Magnussen "I’m really happy with testing in general. I think we’ve learned a huge amount about the car. We know where we need to work between here and Australia. I’m looking forward to getting back in the car for the race in a couple of weeks.”
Sixth place went to Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo who went through a race simulation in the afternoon but afterwards was cautious about his team’s pace in the run-up to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
“The race sim was OK. I don’t think we were going particularly fast, but it was good for me to get the laps in, to put myself through it physically,” he said. “In terms of our performance, I would say on day one of this week’s test we looked competitive, within a couple of tenths, but today it was maybe a little more. I do think our true pace is closer though. We have a bit to learn still, but I think Melbourne will be another story and I think we’ll see a bit more on both the power and aero side. I think we’ll be competitive.”
McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne took seventh place surviving the morning when his car was hit by electrical problems. He managed just 48 laps in total.
With Bottas eighth fastest, ninth place went to Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein, with the top 10 being rounded out by Renault’s Jolyon Palmer. Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and the Williams pair of Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll.
2017 Formula One Testing – Barcelona Test 2, Day Three
1 S. Vettel Ferrari 1:19.024
2 L. Hamilton Mercedes 1:19.352
3 E. Ocon Force India 1:20.161
4 D. Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:20.416
5 K. Magnussen Haas 1:20.504
6 D. Ricciardo Red Bull 1:20.824
7 S. Vandoorne McLaren 1:21.348
8 V. Bottas Mercedes 1:21.819
9 P. Wehrlein Sauber 1:22.347
10 J. Palmer Renault 1:22.418
11 M. Ericsson Sauber 1:23.330
12 F. Massa Williams 1:24.443
13 L. Stroll Williams 1:24.863
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