Formula 1

Raikkonen and Ferrari fastest as pre-season testing concludes

Kimi Raikkonen has ended the final day of Formula One 2017 pre-season testing as the fastest driver; keeping Ferrari on top of the timesheets for the second day in succession.

It was a strong last day for the Scuderia, with Kimi putting in the fastest lap of the whole eight days of pre-season testing. The Finn also put in 111 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya; which could’ve been higher were it not for a late stoppage with around an hour and a half left of running. Such is the pace of this year’s Formula One cars, the lap of 1’18.634 set by Raikkonen was just three tenths shy of Felipe Massa’s lap record set at the Spanish Grand Prix in 2008. The lap was also set on super-soft tyres, meaning that even faster tyres are possible on the ultra-soft compound.

Max Verstappen was the nearest driver to Raikkonen on the final day, with the Dutchman putting in a 1’19.438 with 71 laps on the board. The sister team of Toro Rosso were another four tenths back, with Carlos Sainz behind the wheel of the STR12 for all 132 laps. Both Verstappen and Sainz set their respective teams’ best times of pre-season testing today.

Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton shared driving duties in the Mercedes W08 for the final day of running. The pair were separated by just five thousandths of a second in Valtteri’s favour come the end of the day; with a combined total of 107 laps for the Silver Arrow.

Both Renault drivers were out on track today, with Nico Hulkenberg ending the day sixth fastest ahead of Jolyon Palmer in eighth. Sergio Perrez split the pair, with all three separated by just four tenths. Lance Stroll was just another tenth of a second behind in ninth after setting the joint highest number of laps in the Williams. His total of 132 laps matched Carlos Sainz’s effort in the Toro Rosso, as the Canadian rookie ended his test on a high after early woes in the first week.

One of the main headlines to come from all of pre-season testing was the continuing reliability problems for McLaren-Honda. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the team weren’t spared from issues on the final day of running. The team faced two more stoppages out on track, limiting Fernando Alonso to just 76 laps. The only highlight was Alonso putting in the fastest time of the test for McLaren, with the Spaniard’s 1’21.389 putting him tenth fastest, although still two and a half seconds off of the front running pace by Ferrari.

It was also a tough final day for Haas. Three separate stoppages for Romain Grosjean blighted the day’s running for the Frenchman. The car came to a halt in the pit lane first, with Grosjean then spinning off into the gravel when they eventually made it out on track. The team were able to get the car back out, only for the car to stop again at turn nine. Grosjean ended the final day in eleventh place after just 43 laps.

Sauber propped up the timesheets in twelfth and thirteenth. Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein shared driving duties, with Ericsson putting in the fastest lap of testing for Sauber. Three seconds separate Ferrari at the top of the timesheets from Sauber at the bottom.

With the eight days of pre-season testing now in the books, all focus turns to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix from Melbourne’s Albert Park street circuit in two weeks time. Pre-season testing times aren’t always an accurate representation of what we will see throughout the year, so it’s still all to play for as the teams prepare for a much anticipated 2017 Formula One World Championship.

Mark your calendars and set your alarms in advance. The Australian Grand Prix will surely be one to watch!

Day Four, Test Two Timesheet:

1) Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 111 laps, supersoft tyres, 1:18.634
2) Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 71 laps, supersoft tyres, 1:19.438
3) Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, 132 laps, ultrasoft tyres, 1:19.837
4) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 53 laps, supersoft tyres, 1:19.845
5) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 54 laps, ultrasoft tyres, 1:19.850
6) Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 45 laps, ultrasoft tyres, 1:19.885
7) Sergio Perez, Force India, 128 laps, ultrasoft tyres, 1:20.116
8) Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 43 laps, supersoft tyres 1:20.205
9) Lance Stroll, Williams, 132 laps, soft tyres, 1:20.335
10) Romain Grosjean, Haas, 76 laps, ultrasoft tyres, 1:21.110
11) Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 43 laps, ultrasoft tyres, 1:21.389
12) Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 59 laps, 1:21.670
13) Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber, 42 laps, 1:24.940

Featured image courtesy of Scuderia Ferrari Press Release

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