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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.

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Vettel staying with Ferrari after signing three-year deal

Sebastian Vettel is staying with Ferrari. Credit: PA

Sebastian Vettel will remain at Ferrari after it was announced he has agreed a new three-year contract.

Championship leader Vettel, who heads Lewis Hamilton by 14 points in the title race ahead of tomorrow's Belgian Grand Prix, will now be committed to the Italian team until the end of the 2020 season.

The length of Vettel's contract ends speculation he could join forces with Mercedes, and the likelihood of Hamilton moving in the opposite direction when his deal expires next year.

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