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Vettel blitzes Barcelona lap record

© AFP | Fast and free: Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel on his way to breaking the Montmelo lap record on Thursday

MONTMELÓ (SPAIN) (AFP) - 

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel smashed the lap record at Montemelo in Formula One testing on Thursday when he clocked 1min 17.182 in his Ferrari.

The German driver, who completed 188 laps, improved on the previous best set just 24 hours earlier by Australia's Daniel Ricciardo in a Red Bull.

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes teammate Valterri Bottas were in eighth and ninth places respectively with 1:19.296 and 1:19.532.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen was further down and with a time of 1:19.842 off 187 laps was the second slowest of the day as drivers opted to focus on set-up.

"Today was about doing a lot of laps? a lot of laps," said Verstappen.

"The focus for us today was on long runs and the feeling with the car was good. No problems with the car and I was happy with the pace. We can definitely work from here. If it?s going to be good enough, we?ll have to wait and see."

Friday will be the final day of pre-season testing before the 2018 world championship gets under way in Melbourne on March 25.

Times

Sebastian Vettel (GER/Ferrari) 1:17.182 (188 laps), Kevin Magnussen (DEN/Haas-Ferrari) 1:18.360 (153), Pierre Gasly (FRA/Toro Rosso-Honda) 1:18.363 (169), Nico Hulkenberg (GER/Renault) 1:18.675 (79), Carlos Sainz (ESP/Renault) 1:18.725 (69), Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL/McLaren-Renault) 1:18.855 (151), Marcus Ericsson (SWE/Sauber-Ferrari) 1:19.244 (148), Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1:19.296 (84), Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) 1:19.532 (97), Robert Kubica (POL/Williams-Mercedes) 1:19.629 (73), Sergio Perez (MEX/Force India-Mercedes) 1:19.634 (159), Max Verstappen (NED/McLaren-Renault) 1:19.842 (187), Lance Stroll (CAN/Williams-Mercedes) 1:20.262 (67)

© 2018 AFP