Sebastian Vettel led the way on the penultimate day of Formula 1 pre-season testing with the fastest time at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The Ferrari driver lapped three-tenths quicker than Valtteri Bottas’ unofficial lap record posted the day before, with a rapid 1:19.024 effort on Ultra Soft tyres just before the lunch break.

Clearly not wanting to show the SF70H’s outright pace, however, the German clearly throttled off on approach to the finish line and was at pains to play down the car’s potential pace while speaking to the media during the lunch break.

The four-time World Champion also clocked the highest total mileage of any driver for the day, with a staggering 156 laps – over 725 kilometres (451 miles) – achieved by the end of the day, which included a complete race simulation in the afternoon session.

With seven of the ten assembled teams clocking up at least a century of laps each, the day was largely a mileage and endurance test for many rather than a race for lap times.

Lewis Hamilton shared his Mercedes F1W08 with teammate Bottas, with the Briton running in the morning session and finishing second-quickest. Like Vettel, his 1:19.352 effort came on the Ultra Soft tyres in the final stages of the morning session.

Having either hidden or failed to unlock much in the way of outright pace over the preceding six days of testing, both Force India and Scuderia Toro Rosso made appearances at the sharp end of the time sheets.

Esteban Ocon was third-fastest overall in the VJM10 with an Ultra Soft hot lap; the Frenchman compiled a healthy 134 laps for the day.

Fourth-fastest was Kvyat in the STR10, with his best time coming on the Super Soft tyres. The Russian driver lost some track time when he stopped on track at Turn 5 in the afternoon session, but returned to action in the final hour of the day. He managed 94 laps for the day in another improved display of reliability for the Italian outfit.

Kevin Magnussen had a solid hit-out for the Haas F1 Team, totaling over 100 laps and finishing fifth quickest overall thanks to an Ultra Soft run. He edged out Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo, who managed 128 productive laps over the day. His fastest time was posted on the Soft compound Pirelli tyres.

Former champions McLaren and Renault both had troubled days that reflected their patchy pre-season form.

Stoffel Vandoorne suffered two separate stoppages thanks to electrical failures in the final hour of the session. While the MCL32 didn’t need to undergo a (now customary) power unit change on Thursday, its poor mileage total of just 48 laps has many insiders concerned.

Having had limited running the day before, Renault’s Jolyon Palmer experienced further dramas with the RS17. The Englishman had a delayed appearance on track in the afternoon’s session and later ground to a halt at Turn 10. He managed just 53 laps for the day.

Straddling Palmer on the timesheets were the Sauber pairing of Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson, who finished ninth and eleventh-fastest respectively.

Another team splitting its driving duties was Williams, which finished the day slowest of all. Both Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll focused on long, high-fuel runs in the FW40; the pair tallied 165 laps between them for the day.

F1 pre-season testing will conclude in Barcelona on Friday.

Driver Team / Entry Time Tyre Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF70H 1:19.024 Pirelli Ultra Soft 156
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:19.352 Pirelli Ultra Soft 52
3. Esteban Ocon fr Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 1:20.161 Pirelli Ultra Soft 137
4. Daniil Kvyat ru Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR12 1:20.416 Pirelli Super Soft 94
5. Kevin Magnussen dk Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:20.504 Pirelli Ultra Soft 119
6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:20.824 Pirelli Soft 128
7. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda MP4-31 1:21.348 Pirelli Ultra Soft 48
8. Valtteri Bottas fi Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:21.819 Pirelli Soft 95
9. Pascal Wehrlein de Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 1:22.347 Pirelli Ultra Soft 44
10. Jolyon Palmer Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 1:22.418 Pirelli Soft 53
11. Marcus Ericsson Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 1:23.330 Pirelli Soft 88
12. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:24.443 Pirelli Medium 80
13. Lance Stroll ca Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:24.863 Pirelli Soft 85

Image via Scuderia Ferrari

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.