Barcelona Testing Day 3: Bottas fastest as pace increases
Valtteri Bottas was fastest on Day 3, but Ferrari are close to Mercedes. (Image Credit: Sutton Images)

Barcelona Testing Day 3: Bottas fastest as pace increases

Valtteri Bottas was quickest on Day 3 as the 2017 cars were ran in anger for the first time. Ferrari close behind as McLaren-Honda have a better day. Lance Stroll and Jolyon Palmer crash out.

jake-nichol
Jake Nichol

Mercedes were once again quickest on the third day of Formula 1 pre-season testing at Barcelona, as Valtteri Bottas a comfortable two tenths ahead of neatest challenger, Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari.

Bottas was in the W08 in the morning and completed 75 laps of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with the quickest time of 1:19.705 being set on the UltraSoft tyre.

The best Vettel could manage in his 139 laps was a 1:19.952. However, the Ferrari set its best time on the Soft tyre, two compounds harder than the UltraSofts Bottas used. 

Daniel Ricciardo was third quickest in his Red Bull, but was 1.448s off of the pace as Jolyon Palmer and Nico Hulkenberg split the driving duties at Renault, with the Brit having a difficult morning that included a spin into the gravel at turn three.

Stroll crashes again

After spinning out on Day Two, Williams rookie Lance Stroll was again in the FW40 on Wednesday, yet after 98 laps, the Canadian spun out at turn five, badly damaging the front of the car. 

Lance Stroll's day, and test, ended early after he crashed exiting turn five. (Image Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Lance Stroll's day, and test, ended early after he crashed exiting turn five. (Image Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Carlos Sainz had also brought out the red flags minutes earlier, interrupting the race simulation that Lewis Hamilton was running with an off at turn four in the Toro Rosso

Owing to the new regulations, turn three is now a flat-out 160mph corner, but Palmer lost control of the RS17 in the morning session before handing over to Hulkenberg in the afternoon, who just about popped himself into the top five. 

Better day for McLaren

After completing just over a race distance on the first two days of the test combined, McLaren and Fernando Alonso had a better day with the MCL32. 

72 laps just about doubled the running the team had completed thus far and a 1:22.598s was the best Alonso could manage. Of course, not too much can be read into times, but this lap was set on the UltraSoft tyres, and was still 2.893s slower than Bottas's benchmark.

Romain Grosjean got his first outing the Haas VF17, completing 56 laps on his way to eighth quickest, whilst Alfonso Celis Jr was in the Force India raking up 71 laps. 

Celis Jr split the two Toro Rosso's on the final timing sheets, with Sainz in 11th and Danill Kvyat 13th quickest, with the Faenza team taking the route favoured by Mercedes of splitting the drivers running from morning to afternoon. 

Record Pace 

Day One of pre-season testing was spent checking the systems of the cars as was a majority of the second. Today, we got a glimpse of just how much quicker the new cars will be. 

Last year, Hamilton's pole time was 1:22.000s. The new cars are expected to be around two-three seconds a lap quicker. 

Bottas's time was 2.295s quicker than Hamilton's pole lap, which suggests that the predictions were just about right. 

For the keen observers, the fact that Ferrari were just 0.247 slower than Mercedes on tyres that are twice as hard is encouraging. Fuel loads aren't know, but after a 139 lap day, Vettel's pace must be taken seriously. 

Sebastian Vettel's pace caught the eye. Have Ferrari really closed the gap to Mercedes? (Image Credit: Sutton Images)
Sebastian Vettel's pace caught the eye. Have Ferrari really closed the gap to Mercedes? (Image Credit: Sutton Images)

Barcelona Test - Day 3 Timing Sheet

Position Driver Team Time Gap Tyre Laps
1. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:19.705 - UltraSoft 75 (Team Total 170)
2. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:19.952 +0.247 Soft 139
3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:21.153 +1.448 Soft 70
4. Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:21.396 +1.691 Soft 51 (Team Total 93)
5. Nico Hulkenberg  Renault 1:21.791 +2.086 Soft 42 (Team Total 93)
6. Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:21.824 +2.119 SuperSoft 126
7. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.090 +2.385 Soft 95 (Team Total 170)
8. Romain Grosjean Haas 1:22.118 +2.413 SuperSoft 56
9. Lance Stroll Williams 1:22.351 +2.646 Soft 98
10. Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:22.598 +2.893 UltraSoft 72
11. Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso 1:23.540 +3.835 Medium 32 (Team Total 63)
12. Alfonso Celis Jr Force India 1:23.568 +3.863 SuperSoft 71
13. Danill Kvyat  Toro Rosso 1:23.952 +4.247 Medium 31 (Team Total 63)
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