TAP HERE for LIVE text commentary of the first pre-season F1 test of 2017

Valtteri Bottas has kept hold of top spot on day three of F1 pre-season testing as Sebastian Vettel demonstrates Ferrari's one-lap pace before its running was ended early, while Lance Stroll suffers two offs including a shunt into a wall.

The Mercedes driver set a new benchmark to beat in the morning session with a new fastest lap of 1m 19.705s using the ultra-soft tyres before handing over to team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the afternoon.

With Vettel enjoying a productive day Ferrari opted for qualifying simulations but restrained to using soft tyres which saw the German driver notch up a 1m 19.952s to move 0.247s off of Bottas for outright single lap pace. Ferrari ran a low fuel load at the end of the day which saw Vettel come to a halt on the home straight with 15 minutes of the day remaining.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo claimed third place on the overall timesheet having completed 70 laps with a best time of 1m 21.153s - almost 1.5s off Bottas - but the Milton Keynes squad resisted the urge for any qualifying runs.

Despite an early slide into the gravel Jolyon Palmer recovered impressively for Renault to end the day fourth overall two-tenths off of Ricciardo. However, Palmer's off was overshadowed by Williams's F1 rookie Stroll who suffered two offs on Wednesday to add to a crash on Tuesday.

Stroll's first crash of the day came on his final lap of the morning session and he got beached in the gravel but avoided any serious damage to his FW40. But his second shunt, on an out lap after Carlos Sainz's Toro Rosso caused a red flag for a technical issue, saw him lose control of the rear of his Williams and spin into the inside tyre barriers at turn four that ended his track action.

Elsewhere, Nico Hulkenberg packed up his Renault's team-mates pace with fifth on the timesheet having been in the RS17 for the afternoon session, ahead of Sauber's Marcus Ericsson in sixth who completed a marathon 126 laps.

Hamilton was denied a full race simulation run due to red flag stoppages but still completed 95 laps in the afternoon after taking over from Bottas, while Haas gave Romain Grosjean his VF17 debut with the French driver completing 56 laps.

With Stroll ninth, McLaren's Fernando Alonso notched up 72 laps in total for trouble-free running after a difficult opening two days of testing as Toro Rosso duo Sainz, Daniil Kvyat and Force India development driver Alfonso Celis Jr completing the timesheet.

TAP HERE for LIVE text commentary of the first pre-season F1 test of 2017



Loading Comments...