Charles Leclerc’s fastest lap of Formula 1 pre-season testing went unchallenged as he topped the penultimate day of running for Ferrari, while Pierre Gasly suffered a big crash. 

In his final appearance for Ferrari ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, Leclerc logged 138 laps and set the pace to ensure the Italian squad recovered from its truncated running after Sebastian Vettel crashed on Wednesday. 

The Monegasque’s 1m16.231s remained unbeatable in the afternoon, though his running ended prematurely when his SF90 broke down on his 139th tour, leaving Ferrari with some reliability concerns heading into the final day. 

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Alexander Albon was the only other driver to post a sub-1m17s lap as he completed over 100 laps for Toro Rosso and finished six tenths down on Leclerc’s benchmark, with McLaren’s Lando Norris a further two tenths back in third. 

Following an incident-free morning, Gasly brought out the first red flag period of the day around an hour into the afternoon session when he slammed into the wall at Turn 9 in a hefty accident. 

The Frenchman lost control of his Red Bull on entry to the fast right-hander on his 66th lap, before slamming into the barriers rear-end first. The impact caused heavy damage to his RB15 and completely destroyed the rear wing, ruling Gasly - who was unhurt in what marked his second crash of testing - out of action for the rest of the day.

Gasly’s morning effort was enough to keep him fourth in the timesheets, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who took over driving duties for Renault from Nico Hulkenberg and finished fifth thanks to some short performance runs on the C5 tyre. 

Hulkenberg was two tenths off his 2019 teammate’s pace on the same compound in sixth, while seventh-placed Lance Stroll managed to hit triple figures before his Racing Point car stopped on circuit and caused the second red flag of the day. 

Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi was eighth ahead of Romain Grosjean, who recovered from an exhaust issue that sidelined him until the final hour of running to set the ninth quickest time on a mixed day for Haas.

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton was next up in 10th and completed 85 laps of running for Mercedes in the morning before handing over to teammate Valtteri Bottas

As has been the case throughout winter testing, Mercedes continued to focus on long runs, with both Hamilton and Bottas’ combined lap total taking the German manufacturer’s tally for the entirety of pre-season to over 1000 laps as it continues to set the benchmark in terms of mileage. 

British rookie George Russell improved his time in the afternoon and also recorded the most laps of any driver as he ensured Williams logged more valuable running by breaking into triple figures for the third consecutive day. 

Kevin Magnussen was 12th for Haas having completed the American squad's morning work with the team managing 69 laps in total, while Bottas propped up the order at the bottom of the timesheets. 

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