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Vettel lowers Ricciardo's unofficial record at F1 testing

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany steers his car during a Formula One pre-season testing session in Montmelo, outside Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, March 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

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

Vettel pushed his Ferrari to a lap of 1 minute, 17.182 seconds. That bettered Red Bull driver's Daniel Ricciardo's effort of 1:18.047 set Wednesday.

The times were established on the "hypersoft" tire compound introduced this year.

They were both more than a second quicker than Lewis Hamilton's pole position with Mercedes in last year's Spanish Grand Prix.

Vettel ran through a number of flying laps, later lowering his own time.

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.

Hamilton will take over for Mercedes driver Vatteri Bottas following a lunch break. Bottas apparently focused on track time over speed during the morning, recording a session high of 95 laps.

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

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