Vettel fastest as McLaren encounter more trouble on Day Three morning

Barcelona Testing – Sebastian Vettel was fastest at the end of the morning session on the penultimate day of testing as McLaren encountered more trouble.

Stoffel Vandoorne brought out the only red flags of the session in the final hour of the morning. His McLaren stopped on the exit of the pit lane to add to the ever-increasing list of problems the team has faced over a difficult pre-season testing period.

The team was able to get the car out again in the final five minutes of the session, but the car came to a halt once again at the Turn 10 hairpin, which saw the session end under red flag conditions.

Vandoorne finished in seventh, setting his time on the ultrasoft tyre, and completed 33 laps.

Vettel was a mere four thousandths of a second away from Valtteri Bottas’ fastest lap of testing (1:19.310 from Wednesday) when he put on the supersoft tyre, the same tyre the Finn set his time on.

However, after the first red flag period, Vettel went straight out on the ultrasoft tyres to go quicker, eventually finishing the session with a 1:19.024.

On both of those laps, however, Vettel driver backed off the throttle before he crossed the finish line, making it very plain for all to see that Ferrari are sandbagging their pace, as many expected the top teams to do so.

Lewis Hamilton put in a late charge to go second fastest on the supersoft tyre, just under a second off the pace, and then used the ultrasoft tyre to get to within four tenths of the German’s time.

Esteban Ocon on the same tyre was 1.1 seconds off the pace in third. All three drivers completed over a century of laps during the session.

Daniil Kvyat was fourth fastest on the supersoft tyre, but had limited mileage with just 33 laps completed.

Daniel Ricciardo also had a less than ideal morning with only 41 laps complete. His team mate needed an engine change during the lunch break on Wednesday, but the team were still able to cover over 100 laps for the day.

The Australian was fifth on the soft tyre ahead of Kevin Magnussen using the supersofts.

Jolyon Palmer was another driver who was limited on mileage, with only 31 laps completed before he hands the Renault over to team mate Nico Hulkenberg for the afternoon.

Marcus Ericsson in eighth did the most laps out of anybody, with 88 circulations of the track done in only four hours. Pascal Wehrlein will continue the Swedish driver’s work in the afternoon.

Lance Stroll was the slowest driver in the session but managed to put in an equally strong number of laps with 85. The Canadian will hand the car over to Felipe Massa for the afternoon.

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Chris Stevens

Chris is a member of the Autosport Academy and has been writing about motorsport professionally since 2015. He has been one of the top Formula E journalists since he went to Donington Park for pre-season testing a week after picking up his A-Level results.

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