Sebastian Vettel produced a new fastest lap of Formula 1 pre-season testing at Barcelona, as Ferrari remained quickest on the final morning.

After a low-key start to the day, Vettel turned up the wick on his SF90 and set a 1m16.221s during the final hour of the session to move to the top of the timesheets on his return to action for Ferrari following a big crash on Wednesday. 

The four-time world champion posted his quickest lap - on Pirelli’s softest C5 compound - following a flurry of short runs, with his time eclipsing the previous benchmark Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc managed on Thursday. 

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Having spent the majority of pre-season testing focusing on race simulations and racking up mileage, Mercedes finally provided a glimpse of its one-lap potential as attentions turned towards performance running, with Valtteri Bottas second-quickest. 

The Finn recorded Mercedes’ fastest lap of the winter so far on the C5 compound with a 1m16.561s as he ended up three tenths adrift of Vettel’s session-leading time, completed 71 laps before Lewis Hamilton takes over after the lunch break to conclude the reigning world champions’ test programme. 

A late effort on the C5 tyres from Daniil Kvyat put the Toro Rosso driver third in the timesheets with a 1m16.898s, ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. and Haas’ Romain Grosjean, who racked up over 70 laps for the American squad after exhaust issues had hampered its running on the penultimate day. 

Daniel Ricciardo hit a half-century of laps and was sixth fastest in his final outing of the winter for Renault before handing over to teammate Nico Hulkenberg, while Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen took seventh prior to causing the first red flag of the day when he pulled off-track late on.

Pierre Gasly’s huge crash forced Red Bull to revert to run older parts as Max Verstappen got back behind the wheel of its RB15, though the Dutchman was absent from the final two hours of the session as he totalled just 29 laps. 

Sergio Perez was ninth-quickest for Racing Point, leaving Robert Kubica - who added a further 47 laps to Williams’ tally - as the only driver who failed to break into the 1m17s bracket. 

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