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McLaren suffer more disaster in Formula One testing

Credit: PA

McLaren endured yet another disastrous start to testing after Fernando Alonso broke down inside the first hour on Friday.

The double world champion was completing only his seventh lap when he stopped at turn seven of Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

McLaren are changing Alonso's engine as they investigate the cause of his car's failure, but the Spaniard is set to lose further valuable track time.

McLaren's latest issue marks the third day of this week's concluding four-day test in Spain in which the British team have encountered problems.

The new Formula One campaign gets under way in Melbourne in a fortnight's time.

Vettel raises bar in Barcelona F1 pre-season testing

The four-time champion is vying to return to the pinnacle of the sport this season. Credit: PA

Sebastian Vettel raised the bar on the penultimate morning of Formula One's pre-season testing by setting an unofficial track record at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

The four-time champion smashed Daniel Ricciardo's lap time from Wednesday by nearly a whole second as Ferrari showed their impressive hand with just one full day of practice remaining.

Vettel, 30, became the first driver over the two weeks of testing to dip beneath the one minute 18 mark with an effort of 1:17.182. The German also recorded 84 laps, with Valtteri Bottas the only driver to have managed more miles.

Mclaren endure difficulty in final pre-season test

McLaren have been at the back of the grid for the last three seasons. Credit: PA

McLaren endured a troubled start to Formula One's concluding pre-season test after Stoffel Vandoorne broke down twice inside the opening hour.

Vandoorne had to be pushed back to the garage by his McLaren mechanics at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya when he stopped in the pit lane after completing one lap.

The Belgian returned to the track moments later but then broke down again, this time on the entrance to the pits, and was wheeled back by his McLaren team.

McLaren said an electrical issue was at cause for both failures, and were optimistic Vandoorne would be back in his car before the lunch break.

But the British team will be frustrated at missing the majority of the morning session with only three further days of testing remaining before the new campaign gets under way in Melbourne on March 25.

A faulty wheel nut cost Fernando Alonso valuable track time on the first day at Barcelona last week, while Vandoorne did not complete any running last Tuesday afternoon following mechanical gremlins.

McLaren, who finished last but one in the constructors' championship last year, expect to be back at the sharp end of the grid in 2018 after ending their nightmare relationship with engine partner Honda and teaming up with Renault.

Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas led the way from Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel on the opening morning. Bottas and Vettel were separated by just one tenth of a second with Red Bull's Max Verstappen third in the order.

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