Ricciardo sets record in Formula 1 testing in Spain

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his car during a Formula One pre-season testing session in Montmelo, outside Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, March 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Manu Fernandez

MONTMELO, Spain (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo broke the unofficial track record Wednesday at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona in Formula One preseason testing.

The Red Bull driver was fastest with a time of 1 minute, 18.047 seconds on new hypersoft tires, setting the best ever lap in Barcelona since the new track layout was introduced in 2007.

Felipe Massa had the previous record of 1:18.339 in a Ferrari in 2008 testing. Times set in testing are not officially recognized as track records.

Defending champion Lewis Hamilton was less than a tenth of a second behind Ricciardo with the slightly slower ultrasoft tires on his Mercedes, followed by Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel replaced Kimi Raikkonen in the morning session because the Finnish driver was "unwell," according to Ferrari. Raikkonen was scheduled to be on the track in the afternoon.

McLaren's reliability issues continued, with Fernando Alonso being stranded on the track because of an oil leak a day after teammate Stoffel Vandoorne twice had his runs interrupted by car failures.

McLaren opted to change the engine on Alonso's car after the leak, keeping the two-time world champion in the garage for most of the morning. He completed only 47 laps, the fewest among the 10 drivers who made it to the track. His time of 1:19.856 was still good for fourth fastest.

McLaren is using Renault engines this season after three struggling years with Honda.

Hamilton led the lap charts with 90, one more than Ricciardo.

Testing will continue until Friday. The season begins with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 25.

The first four days of testing last week were hampered by bad weather in Barcelona, keeping cars in the garage most of the time.


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