Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc sets the pace on day three in Barcelona

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc sets the pace on day three in Barcelona

Nevertheless, either side of that problem we did do some useful things, finding that the vehicle behaves a little differently with the new package.

The Italian team did not specify what problem led to Vettel's crash in the morning session of the second of four days of testing.

Defending champion Hamilton had another mundane session, clocking the 10th-fastest time while sharing the wheel with Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. His effort of 1 minute, 16.231 seconds was only 0.05 seconds short of the record for the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit set by Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for last season's Spanish Grand Prix.

Alexander Albon, the Britain-born Thai driver, was second fastest in his Toro Rosso, ahead of McLaren's British rookie Lando Norris and Gasly.

"I guess we need to wait and see what the others can do on those runs", said the Spaniard. "We have some potential, we tested a lot of things, we have good performance, but we have to work hard as well as they seem really fast". There's still some margin, a bit obviously in myself. Gasly lost control of his Red Bull early on turn in at Turn 9 - the high-speed right hander - and swapped ends, going backwards over the gravel and into the barrier. "But I'm glad I still got to do a few laps, the team did a really good job to get the vehicle out again; it was important to get a bit of a feel for the new aero package".

A long-run comparison between Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull looked possible in the afternoon as all three teams attempted a race simulation after lunch.

The incident happened on turn 3, when the Ferrari man went straight into the barriers, with his vehicle wedged into the barriers.

"Yeah I made a mistake in Turn 9 and basically lost the auto, pretty big crash, one of the biggest crash I had so far".

"But we got it done and that was very positive, especially as this was my last day in the vehicle before Australia".

Having teased us all with one solitary quick lap that promoted him to the top of the timesheets, Lewis Hamilton subsequently returned to Mercedes no-nonsense programme of slightly longer runs.

Friday will be the last of the eight days of pre-season testing.

Customer Ferrari teams Haas and Alfa Romeo are also in the bottom half for laps completed this week.

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