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Vettel resets track record on second-to-last day of testing

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Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastien Vettel set the lap record around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Thursday, the second-to-last day of pre-season testing for the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season.

Vettel’s lap, at 1:17.182, was set on the new hyper-soft tire compound, and bested the day’s second fastest lap, from Haas F1 Team’s Kevin Magnussen, by over one second. Scuderia Toro Rosso continued to show impressive form with Pierre Gasly turning in the third fastest lap of the day, while Renault Sport F1 Team’s Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. went fourth and fifth on the day.

Behind them, Mercedes AMG Petronas teammates Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas appeared to languish in eighth and ninth, but their fastest laps were set on the much harder medium compound tires as they spent the day focusing on long runs.

And that long-run pace could be daunting, as they were reportedly significantly quicker than their closest rivals Ferrari and Red Bull Racing over similar long runs. It remains to be seen how this will play out on race weekends, but Mercedes could easily be lurking in the background as other teams set fast individual lap times.

Results from Thursday can be found here. Pre-season testing concludes on Friday.

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Gabby Chaves to sub for Joao Barbosa at Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen

Photo: IndyCar
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Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.

The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.

Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.

Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.

“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”

Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”

Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.

The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.

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