The penultimate day of pre-season testing at Barcelona saw cooler conditions that the previous days, but it proved a very busy day nonetheless, as every meter counts before the cars are flown to Melbourne. Scuderia Ferrari have opted to give Sebastian Vettel a full day in the car in order to allow Kimi Raikkonen, who missed the morning of yesterday’s test due to illness time to recover. The Finnish driver should then be back in the car on Friday.
The attention of Formula One’s teams start to turn from reliability to performance and finding the limits of their cars. This was also Scuderia Ferrari’s approach for the morning as Sebastian Vettel completed 67 laps. Just before the launch break, the Maranello team bolted the hypersoft tyres onto Seb’s car and the German immediately managed to set a new fastest time of testing and unofficial lap record of 1:17.913, which is over a tenth quicker than what Daniel Ricciardo produced on the same tyre yesterday. One lap later, the four-time Formula One world champion threw in a 1:17.664 to really give the opposition something to think about.
The German driver was clearly off the throttle when he crossed the start-finish line on his quick laps we saw this morning, which indicates that for the moment Ferrari is clearly holding something back, as so those are impressive lap times to be setting. As track temperature began to climb, Sebastian had a new set of hypersoft tyres bolted on and improved his previous benchmark by over three tenths, with an impressive lap time of 1:17.297, followed by another ultra-quick lap on the hypersofts to deliver a 1:17.182. They have had a quiet week, but this was all rather impressive from Scuderia Ferrari.
Today’s driver line-ups are:
Scuderia Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel
Red Bull: Verstappen
Force India: Perez
Toro Rosso: Gasly