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Barcelona F1 testing: Mercedes fastest again, engine issue for Ferrari

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas set the fastest lap of Barcelona Formula 1 pre-season testing so far in the day three morning session, as Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari suffered an engine problem

Vettel had managed what was then a field-high 40 laps by the time he stopped at Turn 12 just after two hours and a half of running, bringing out the second red flag of the test.

The session remained suspended for 20 minutes as the stricken SF1000 was covered in multiple blankets and transported back to the Ferrari garage, from which it would not emerge before the chequered flag.

Ferrari has confirmed it will fit a replacement engine in Vettel's car for the afternoon, while the power unit that started the day will go to its Maranello base for analysis.

When that red flag flew, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen had been fastest with a C2 lap of 1m17.636s, but Bottas then improved to a 1m16.863s - the fastest lap of testing at that point - shortly after green-flag running resumed.

He whittled it down to a 1m16.417s on C4s, before fitting the softest compound - the C5 - with just under an hour remaining and recording a 1m15.732s.

Bottas's lap was nearly half a second quicker than Vettel's overall benchmark from 2019 pre-season testing, and was just three tenths short of the Mercedes driver's own lap record from last year's qualifying.

His lap coincided with Nicholas Latifi's Williams coming to a halt on the start/finish straight, which caused the test's third red-flag period.

Like Vettel, Latifi did not return for the rest of the session, the pair making up the classification in ninth and 10th.

The session resumed again with 50 minutes to go, but Bottas's time was under no threat and he duly went into the lunch break as the pacesetter, with Lewis Hamilton set to drive the W11 in the afternoon.

Renault began the day with the fewest miles accrued but Esteban Ocon logged a healthy 76 laps in the morning.

He ended the session second, with a time 1.370 seconds off Bottas set on C4s, and will now hand the car over to Daniel Ricciardo for the afternoon.

Racing Point's Lance Stroll completed the top three, lapping two tenths slower than Ocon on the same tyre and just a tenth up on AlphaTauri's Daniil Kvyat, also on C4s, who will be replaced by Pierre Gasly in the afternoon.

Verstappen spend the morning running on the harder tyre compounds, and was only fifth, albeit recording a session-high 86 laps.

Carlos Sainz Jr's seventh-fastest time likewise came on the C2s, with the McLaren driver and his former Toro Rosso team-mate Verstappen split by Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi in sixth.

Both Verstappen and Sainz are done for the week, with their respective team-mates Alexander Albon and Lando Norris replacing them in the afternoon.

Romain Grosjean, who will hand the Haas VF-20 over to Kevin Magnussen for the final session, was eighth and the only driver besides Vettel and Latifi not to make it to the 50-lap mark.

Day three morning times

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m15.732ss 1m15.732s 65
2 Esteban Ocon Renault 1m17.102ss 1.370s 76
3 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1m17.338ss 1.606s 52
4 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri/Honda 1m17.427ss 1.695s 62
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1m17.636ss 1.904s 86
6 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1m18.035ss 2.303s 65
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren/Renault 1m18.274ss 2.542s 76
8 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m18.380ss 2.648s 48
9 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m18.384ss 2.652s 40
10 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1m19.004ss 3.272s 44


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