Ferrari top timesheets on penultimate day of testing

Date published: March 9 2017

Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari gave a little teaser of what is to come after setting the fastest time of winter testing so far.

As has often been in the case over the seven days of testing, the drama unfolded in the morning session with the afternoon dedicated to more longer running and race simulations.

Vettel, who racked up 156 laps in the SF70H ahead of the final day, first broke the 1:20s barrier on the soft compounds before switching to a set of supersofts.

In the final hour before the lunch break, the German fell 0.004s short of Valtteri Bottas’ best time –  a 1:19.310 also on the supersoft compound – but was clearly easing off in the final sector.

The four-time World Champion continued to sandbag but, even with keeping some pace in reserve, still managed to eclipse Bottas’ time on two occasions with the ultrasofts.

The first being a 1:19.164 before improving to a time of 1:19.024 which kept him top of the timesheets for the rest of Day Seven.

Lewis Hamilton improved his time just before lunch break, too, with a 1:19.352 on ultrasofts the fastest we have seen the Brit throughout the whole of testing.

While Ferrari and Mercedes were continuing to set the pace, there was yet more disruption for McLaren-Honda with Stoffel Vandoorne breaking down twice within the final hour of the morning session.

An electrical fault was identified as the issue this time, and their latest setback ate up even more precious time for the Woking team with just one day of testing remaining before the season opener in Australia.

Vandoorne was restricted to just 48 laps as McLaren-Honda stay firmly at the bottom in the standings for the most laps completed during testing.

There were also concerns regarding the Renault power unit. Jolyon Palmer was forced to stop on track once again and the Renault-powered Toro Rosso also prompted a red flag situation as it was lifted back to the garage.

However, Red Bull suffered no such problems as Daniel Ricciardo essentially completed two race distances in one day to finish P6.

Third-placed Esteban Ocon also racked up over a century of laps in the Force India.

Elsewhere, there was another disruption-free day for Lance Stroll in the Williams FW40, getting another 85 laps under his rookie belt.

Day Seven timesheet:

Fastest times of testing by each team:
1) Ferrari – 1:19.024
2) Mercedes – 1:19.310 (+0.286)
3) Williams – 1:19.420 (+0.396)
4) Red Bull – 1:19.900 (+0.876)
5) Force India – 1:20.161 (+1.137)
6) Toro Rosso – 1:20.416 (+1.392)
7) Haas – 1:20.504 (+1.48)
8) Renault – 1:21.213 (+2.189)
9) McLaren – 1:21.348 (+2.324)
10) Sauber – 1:21.824 (+2.8)