Gallery: Latest pics from penultimate day of testing

Date published: March 8 2018

Testing time is starting to run out at the Circuit de Catalunya as we approach the final day of running before the season opener in Australia.

A popular figure returned to action in Barcelona, with Robert Kubica getting some more track time in the FW41.

Following Red Bull’s record-breaking day with Daniel Ricciardo, it was Max Verstappen’s turn to rack up the laps again.

After losing more precious track time on Wednesday due to an oil leak and an engine change, McLaren attacked the day by sending Stoffel Vandoorne straight into action.

He soon became the fourth driver to dip into the 1:18 range with Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

After a lull in proceedings, with plenty of hard miles being completed. Nico Hulkenberg made his assault on the leaderboard with a 1:18.664 – two tenths quicker than Vandoorne.

But then it was time for McLaren and Renault to move over as Sebastian Vettel started to unleash the Ferrari. He posted a 1:18.079 on the ultrasoft tyre – just 0.032s slower than Ricciardo’s best on hypersofts on day two.

Kevin Magnussen then jumped up to second in the standings after a qualifying simulation run on supersofts. He managed a 1:18.576 to get the jump on both Renault and McLaren.

Vettel wasn’t finished, though, as he improved to a mighty 1:17.182 with a fresh set of hypers before the lunch break.

Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton returned to the cockpit in the afternoon, with race simulation programmes the focus for him and many others.

Later in the afternoon, confirmation came that Vettel is indeed a lap count machine.

With an hour and a half left of day three, McLaren became the tenth and final team to pass the 100-lap mark on a day with zero disruption…

…until Marcus Ericsson beached the car inside the final hour, bringing the first red flag of the day.

It did not detract from the track action for too long, though, with all 10 teams running extremely well on the penultimate day of testing.