Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Vettel flies to new record time at Catalunya

2018 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel conclusively led the penultimate day of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya, lapping over a second quicker than anyone else and further lowering the unofficial record time for the track.

Robert Kubica, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018
Picures: F1 testing day seven
The Ferrari driver set a new best time of the test so far with a lap of 1’17.182, nine-tenths of a second quicker than the previous benchmark set by Daniel Ricciardo. On what is slated to be his final day in the car before the Australian Grand Prix, Vettel completed 188 laps, the most of any driver today.

Red Bull and Mercedes focused their energies on long runs and never looked like putting a performance run together. He was matched by Max Verstappen did 187 laps and was almost at the bottom of the table. while the W09 drivers were just inside the top 10.

Kevin Magnussen made it two Ferrari-powered cars in the top two by setting the best time of the session so far for Haas. He was alsmost displaced by Pierre Gasly late in the session, the Toro Rosso driver falling short by three-thousandths of a second.

McLaren bounched back from their disrupted Tuesday to complete 149 laps with Stoffel Vandoorne. This was despite a brief delay in the morning while the team scrutinised his data closely as they suspected a problem, before the MCL33 was sent back onto the track.

The only red flag of the day was caused by Marcus Ericsson when he spun his Sauber at turn four during the afternoon.

Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLapsTyres
15Sebastian VettelFerrariSF71H1’17.182188Hyper-soft
220Kevin MagnussenHaasVF-181’18.3601.178153Super-soft
310Pierre GaslyToro RossoSTR131’18.3631.181169Hyper-soft
427Nico HulkenbergRenaultRS181’18.6751.49379Hyper-soft
555Carlos Sainz JnrRenaultRS181’18.7251.54319Hyper-soft
62Stoffel VandoorneMcLarenMCL331’18.8551.673151Hyper-soft
79Marcus EricssonSauberC371’19.2442.062148Hyper-soft
844Lewis HamiltonMercedesW091’19.2962.11484Medium
977Valtteri BottasMercedesW091’19.5322.35097Medium
1040Robert KubicaWilliamsFW411’19.6292.44773Super-soft
1111Sergio PerezForce IndiaVJM111’19.6342.452159Hyper-soft
1233Max VerstappenRed BullRB141’19.8422.660187Soft
1318Lance StrollWilliamsFW411’20.2623.08067Ultra-soft

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 33 comments on “Vettel flies to new record time at Catalunya”

        1. Sorry, hypersofts. Too many fricking tyres to keep track of

          1. Thanks KGN11, in fact I’ve posted the message before KEITH added the tyres, Agreed on the tyres combination, I think Pirelli should simplify the stuff, Qualy tyres (a few laps), Race tyres (soft, medium, hard, inters, wet).

    1. 18.3 from Magnussen on super softs… Erm…

      1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
        8th March 2018, 17:47

        Does that mean Magnussen is roughly a bit ahead of Vettel when you factor in tyres?

        1. I would say it means nothing. The only thing we do know is the tyres they were on. As for the rest of them we have no clue, chiefly among them the fuel load.

        2. They’ve been saying that there’s little difference between the softer tyres (softer than softs). Maybe 0.2s per step. So, no.

          1. Correct. From Ted’s Notebook (according to Pirelli): Medium > Soft: 0.6 sec diff.. Soft > SS > US > HS: 0.3 sec diff.
            So that puts Mag at 17.7 sec. I’m sure that Ferrari have more in hand, as does everyone else.
            But as a Ferrari fan those long run times from the Mercs look pretty scary.

            1. You’re using Ted’s words as evidence? Ted?! The same guy who said Ferrari has more money, people & better facilities than all the teams in F1…. that Ted?

            2. …since it was Vettles’ last run in testing before Melbourne, my guess is he did push it quite good and there is not too much left. Hence the hyper softs to feel the car closer to the limit.
              And yes, the long runs don’t look good at all for Ferrari. 1 second avg. behind RedBull and Merc.

      2. That 2017 Ferrari is still competitive.

    2. The first time that anyone sets a sub-1m18s lap time around this circuit in its current 2007-present configuration.

    3. What a huge amount of laps completed overall today. I wonder, where this day would rank in terms of testing days with the most mileage covered?

    4. What’s the issue with Force India being the slowest hypersoft-runner?

      1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
        8th March 2018, 18:38

        They’ve been quite slow recently. Mostly towards the back.

      2. Force India are supposedly testing their mechanical platform to ensure they have a good base to work on. Reports at the track have said that the car looks good on high speed corners which would indicate that they have reached the balance they are looking for.

        They will have an almost new package for Melbourne. They clearly feel confident on their development even though they won’t get any testing on the new parts. Considering they have had similar approaches in the last few years, and considering how well they performed, I would feel confident too, and if works for them, no reason to change it

    5. Well, if a HAAS is less than 1.2sec slower on SS, my opinion is that the time is not that impressive, and Mercedes and RBR should be able to replicate the performance easily. Yeah, it could be that HAAS built a better car too… it can happen, but I hardly believe it.

    6. Dani Ric is one of my top drivers, but yesterday, when he was lowkey bragging about his then lap record time and being second after Mercedes and possibly ahead of ferrari, I thought he was a bit overconfident. It would be foolish to think Ferrari are much behind Mercedes if at all. And considering Hamilton was about 6 tenths off Ricciardos time, using tyres 4 compounds harder, I’d figure Mercedes are capable of lap time at least 1 to 1.5 seconds quicker than the Red-Bull posted that day.
      I can’t tell which is going to be faster out the box, Mercedes or Ferrari. But what I do believe is that Red-Bull is 3rd fastest like at the end of 2017.

      As I’m a Mercedes fan, I hope over the year they will be able to beat Ferrari. What I fear however, just by looking at the new Ferrari, is that they are the quickest car at the moment.

      How ever it will turn out, I hope we get a close battle to the end instead of Lewis or Vettel just walking away with it.

      1. @renee, DanRic has to talk-up his fast drives because MaxV is getting all the publicity.

        1. Exactly. His manhood is shrinking and his gross ‘shoe-y’ won’t be enough to keep him relevant

      2. You have nothing to fear. Mercedes are likely to dominate again.

        1. All this conjecture about who will dominate and who will do what is natural and understandable, and fun, I think because we just want to talk F1 and can’t wait. But I think we all know we will just have to wait and see once it is apples to apples racing in anger. And even then, we also know things can and will change one race to the next, very likely. Unless there is a true domination somehow.

          But I can’t think of why, with the amount of rules stability F1 have currently, Mercedes would have found another leap. Odds do seem to me that RBR and Ferrari, having made such good gains last year, should have gained at least just as much as Mercedes again this year, who had diva issues for a change, and which puts Ferrari and RBR at some number of wins at a minimum. I’m really just extending the trends from last year into this for the most part I suppose. Not that Ferrari ended last year in an upswing, but overall they were far more competitive over the season vs 2016 as we all know.

          I do think the odds are LH, SV, MV, and FA will dominate their teammates.

    7. It is being said that the gap between the compounds is not a lot – 2 to 3 tenths instead of the usual 3-5 tenths in the previous years. In that context, Seb’s time may not be that bad as it looks to be at first glance.

      But this also begs the question, have Pirelli really created a new softer and new harder tyre for this year? or Have they just created new variants in the existing range? I mean, last year’s US = This years’ HS. Last year’s Hard = This years’ Super Hard?.

    8. Considering what was expected of the tyres cars and re-surfacing this time is going to get smashed tomorrow.

      1. Another prediction?

    9. According to AMuS (who got their info from Renault, based on GPS measurements), Ferrari is slower than both Mercedes and Red Bull, with Merc pretty comfortably ahead. If anything, Ferrari seemed worried after setting the lap, because they knew it wasn’t good enough. Apparently Merc won’t even bother doing a low-fuel quali run, and don’t plan on trying the Hyper-Softs either, because they’re just that confident.

      1. Lol I read this quote earlier and it made me laugh a lot. It’s testing

      2. They won’t try the hypersofts because they didn’t order any. Said it was pointless as they won’t be used for that gp

      3. But the testing time itself is accurate for more than just the session? GPS data is far more useful than anything else, it’s just that only the teams have access to it.

        Ferrari seeming worried is based on how Arrivabene and Binotto looked when they left the garage for the lunch break, after Ferrari had set that time.

        AMuS (Auto Motor und Sport) is a German magazine, and if you’ve been paying attention to F1 news for a while, you’d know that they often have some pretty good inside information since they’re not part of the British F1 media echo chamber. Don’t get me wrong, they don’t get every prediction right, but their content has rightly been featured in the roundup here because they often do have some (usually reliable) info you can’t get anywhere else.

        As for Merc not bothering because of confidence – that’s literally the word Andrew Shovlin (chief race engineer) used.

        Also, don’t shoot the messenger.

        1. The messenger is badly informed. Mercedes aren’t running HS because they didn’t bring any – not because they’re so confident that their car was good.

        2. I don’t know where you got that info about how Arrivabene and Binotto looked.
          If it came from that magazine then we can’t take it seriously. It’s called gossip and guesswork.
          I think Ferrari are confident about their car. By the looks of it, Vettel is too. At least from what he says in his interviews.

    10. It’s really sad to look at Williams regular driver’s time.

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