After hovering near the top of the timesheets for several days now, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel managed to squeeze the most out of his SF17H to clock in the fastest time ever for a Formula 1 car around the famous Circuit de Catalunya, near Barcelona, Spain. The German driver eclipsed the previous best time set by Daniel Ricciardo at the wheel of his RB14 by almost one whole second.
The four-time F1 champ took advantage of the cool ambient temperatures and dry track conditions to push his Ferrari and its new Pirelli Hypersoft tires to the limit for a total of 84 laps, with the scorching lap recorded shortly before the track closed for lunch break. In order to comprehend just how quick Vettel's lap really is, The Drive went back to the archives and unearthed the following: Lewis Hamilton's pole-setting lap time in 2016 was 1:22.000 and 1:19.149 in 2017. Vettel's recent lap was 1:17.182, that's nearly five seconds faster than Hamilton's 2016 pole.
The second-to-last testing day is only halfway over, which means that there's plenty of time for Mercedes-AMG, Red Bull, and even Ferrari to dip into the one-sixteens. Unfortunately, according to the FIA rules, lap times set during pre-season tests do not count as official track records, which means that Vettel's laps will go down in history as an "unofficial track record" unless it's bested today or tomorrow, of course.