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Vettel tops timesheets as tyre test concludes

NEWS STORY
29/11/2017

With Kimi Raikkonen setting the pace yesterday, today it was the turn of Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel to top the timesheets as the 2017 F1 season effectively came to an end.

Again however, it was Robert Kubica who was at the centre of media attention, the Pole ending the day seventh quickest as he got to try the softest (2018) compound, the hypersoft, for the first time.

Indeed, the Pole was the quickest of all three drivers on duty for the Grove outfit over the course of the two days though in fairness Sergey Sirotkin did not get to run the softest compound and set his best on the softs.

Completing 118 laps, Vettel completed the planned programme, which included running the different tyre compounds over both performance laps and long distance runs.

Valtteri Bottas took over from Lewis Hamilton as the Briton headed to Malaysia to celebrate the title wins with Petronas.

The Finn completed a total of 141 laps, Mercedes power units completing a total of 379 laps (2105km).

"It was a really interesting day," said Bottas, "trying out the new Pirellis and discovering the differences between this year's and next year's tyres.

"I could really feel the differences and it was nice to get the feel now rather than next year. We tested all kinds of compounds and learned a lot out of all of them. I myself learned a great deal about the driving style with these new tyres. Now I'm looking forward to get some holidays."

While McLaren had two cars in action having been denied the opportunity to test in Brazil earlier this month, Force India and Toro Rosso had two drivers sharing the one car.

With Nikita Mazepin driving the VMJ10 yesterday, today race drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were on duty, while for the Faenza outfit Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly took over the STR12 that Sean Gelael drove on Tuesday.

"I think we achieved a lot this week," said Perez. "We've run on as many tyre compounds as we could and that's given us a good idea of what to expect next year. It was a normal day in the car and a good way to end the year."

"Trying the 2018 tyre compounds was very useful and has helped our preparation for next season," added Ocon. "We learnt loads about the tyres and, even though I didn't get to test the new hypersofts, I was able to do short and long runs on the other compounds I tried. The conditions on track weren't perfect: it was much warmer and windier than during qualifying and the race, but it was still good enough to give us useful information."

"Both drivers sampled the same compounds and it's given us a huge amount of information to digest over the coming weeks," said chief race engineer, Tom McCullough. "We hit our targets for the test and even completed several long runs with each driver. There's been a huge team effort over the last few days so I'd like to say a big 'well done' to everybody involved."

Each team had 20 sets for the test: 12 sets chosen by Pirelli (with a selection of 2018 tyres plus some 2017 tyres for comparison) and the other eight selected by the teams themselves.

"In total, 23 different were in action," said Pirelli Mario Isola, "the drivers did some long runs as well, so not in qualifying conditions.

"The characteristics of the Yas Marina circuit meant the test concentrated on the compounds from medium to the hypersoft. The whole test and all the drivers gave us very positive feedback.

"The new Pink hypersoft meets our initial expectations," he continued, "with times that are about a second per lap faster than the Purple ultrasoft, but this obviously needs to be confirmed on other types of track as well.

"All the 2018 tyres are a step softer than this year's equivalents, in line with what the teams asked for, with the Pink hypersoft (just added to the range) so being two steps softer than the 2017 ultrasoft. We now look forward to getting back on track for the first official pre-season test of 2018 at Barcelona from February 26 to March 1."

Check out our Wednesday gallery from Yas Marina, here.

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