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.