Kimi Raikkonen was fastest for Ferrari on the final day of the first pre-season test in Barcelona, as the teams were given the opportunity to test Pirelli’s new wet tyres on an artificially damp track.
Day four of the first pre-season test was always going to be a day where lap times were not broken, as going into it teams knew it would be a wet to dry track, giving Pirelli the chance to test their new wet tyres. The track was artificially soaked twice by tankers, once in the morning before the session began and again during the lunch break. The track did dry throughout the sessions and towards the end of each session slick tyres were needed. It was in the afternoon Raikkonen set the fastest time of the day on soft tyres, a 1:20.872, his personal best time of the week. However the time is just under a second down on the benchmark time his team mate Sebastian Vettel set on Wednesday. Raikkonen was positive though about how the whole test had gone for Ferrari, quick to praise the reliability of the team.
“We’ve been positive all the time and we’ve been working well together,” Raikkonen said to the media. “It’s always exciting to start the year and so far it’s been all running pretty smoothly. Where we’re going to end up in the year, we don’t know, but so far it’s good.”
It was a better final day for Red Bull. The team have struggled with reliability with the RB13, which seems to have picked up testing gremlin after testing gremlin every day this week. But today the car behaved itself, allowing Max Verstappen to post his fastest time of the test so far, a 1:21.769 and net Red Bull second place on the timesheets today behind Ferrari. While it is not perhaps where the team wanted to be at the end of the first test, they can take some solace in the fact that they’ve had a gremlin free day.
It was also a positive day for the Renault team, with Jolyon Palmer managing a remarkable third in the car after an impressive late run on the soft tyre. Renault have seemed to downplay their pace during the test, but this shows the team may have found some improvements over the winter break. They were not the only team showing some pace today with Romain Grosjean fourth for Haas and Sauber stand-in Antonio Giovinazzi fifth.
It was not all happy news though as Day four proved tricky once again for Toro Rosso, who completed only the one lap with Daniil Kvyat. The team have not really been on the radar for much of the test, owing to repeated trouble with their Renault engine. And they have the unenviable record of lowest number of miles covered in the four days of testing so far. Technical chief James Key was quick to make his intentions for Toro Rosso clear.
“The week has been both encouraging but also frustrating with the missed running time. However we will now plan our recovery for next week and hope to make up for lost ground!”
They were not the only team to have a tough day, as the Mercedes team finally suffered their first mechanical gremlin of testing that resulted in Lewis Hamilton being unable to run in the morning. The team found an electrical fault in the W08 that kept it in the garage for several hours. Once the problem was fixed late in the morning, Hamilton decided to give what was left of the session over to team mate Valtteri Bottas, with the Finn due in the car for the afternoon in any case. Bottas completed 68 laps and finished eighth fastest, with Mercedes ending the week with the quickest overall time and the most number of laps completed.
Meanwhile Bottas’ former team Williams failed to even set a time today. The team were unable to run after a check of the car reported a fault in the chassis following Lance strolls crash Wednesday. With no spare chassis, the team ultimately called an early end to their test, promising to be back ready for the second test next week.
The second F1 pre-season test starts on Tuesday 7th of March and once again Overtake Motorsport will have a full day by day report available for you.
Day Four Timesheet
1) Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 93 laps, soft tyres, 1:20.872
2) Max Verstappen, 85 laps, soft tyres, 1:21.769
3) Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 39 laps, soft tyres, 1:21.778
4) Romain Grosjean, Haas, 118 laps, supersoft tyres, 1:22.309
5) Antonio Giovinazzi, Sauber, 84 laps, ultrasoft tyres, 1:22.401
6) Sergio Perez, Force India, 82 laps, supersoft tyres, 1:22.534
7) Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, 67 laps, ultrasoft tyres, 1:22.576
8) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 68 laps, soft tyres, 1:23.443
9) Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 51 laps, soft tyres, 1:24.974
10) Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 1 lap, No time
Feature Image Credit: Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team Press Release