Ferrari teased the field with their outright pace on Thursday, although they were only three tenths faster than Mercedes while setting the fastest time of testing so far.
Despite setting a 1:19.1, the fastest of testing so far, there was clearly more left in the tank for Sebastian Vettel as he teased their pace on Thursday morning. While setting fast lap times in the Ferrari, he backed off on every lap to mask the true pace of the car, although the ultimate pace from the three sectors was considerably lower. It was also faster than the previous best set by Valtteri Bottas in the Mercedes by three tenths of a second, equalled by Lewis Hamilton today.
Esteban Ocon set 137 laps in the Force India to finish the day third, and a second off the pace of the Ferrari, which was also the leading midfield team in what is expected to be a close battle. A couple of tenths down on the Force India was Daniil Kvyat’s Toro, which caused a red flag, and Kevin Magnussen’s Haas.
It was another difficult day for McLaren though, with yet another stoppage, caused by an electrical problem again. Although they lost time, they still go a little running with Stoffel Vandoorne behind the wheel, with 48 overall for the day, considerably down on the majority of the other teams.
Williams didn’t feature on the time sheets, instead focusing on long runs with both Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll behind the wheel. It would be the last time the Brazilian would drive the Williams in testing before Melbourne, with Lance Stroll expected to take the whole day tomorrow.
|3||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m20.161s||1.137s||137|
|4||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m20.416s||1.392s||94|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m20.824s||1.800s||128|