Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen tops the final day of pre-season testing
By: S.Harding, Xiro Xone News March 10, 2017 Updated: 1:33 PM
Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen finished the final day of Formula One pre-season testing topping the timesheets and continuing to turn heads for Scuderia.
Raikkonen set a time of 1:18.634 on the super-soft tire with 111 laps on a qualifying simulation run. The team also conducted a race simulation as part of their program in preparation for the Austrailian Grand Prix.
"We are starting from a stronger base than last year: but it’s really too early to say how fast the car is compared to the others," said Raikkonen.
However, the team did run into an electrical issue at Turn 13 with 90 minutes of the session remaining. Ferrari finished the week with an incredibly strong pace. However, without knowing about fuel loads and other unknowns, it's hard to see just how much Ferrari still have in their pockets.
Max Verstappen finished second for Red Bull with a time of 1:19.438, also on super-soft tires. A turbo issue in the afternoon limited Verstappen to 71 laps as the team made final adjustments ahead of the season opener.
Carlos Sainz finished third for Toro Rosso using the ultra-soft tires to set a time of 1:19.837. The car suffered a problem when it suddenly stopped in the pit lane during the afternoon session, a problem that team principal Franz Tost says was "nothing major." Sainz still completed 132 laps.
Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton tag teamed the final day of testing, with Bottas driving in the morning and Hamilton in the afternoon as the team focused on set-up work and tire analysis.
Renault's Nico Hulkenberg ended the day sixth with 45 laps as the team took the day to make final set-up assessments and evaluations.
Force India and Sergio Perez, who have shown good reliability, finished the week out on a positive note with Perez running a 1:20.116 and racking up 128 laps. The team's program consisted of performance runs in the morning and long runs in the afternoon.
Hulkenberg's teammate Jolyon Palmer took over the afternoon session, finishing seventh. Renault has seen its share of setbacks in the last two weeks of testing as they hope to improve their reliability.
Williams F1 rookie, Lance Stroll, finished with a hefty amount of mileage, racking up 132 laps in his last test day ahead of his debut. Stroll set his fastest time on the super-soft tire (Red-stripe) with a time of 1:20.335 but wasn't able to get any run time on the ultra-soft tire (Purple-stripe).
Haas F1 hit a little bit of trouble when Romain Grosjean spun out onto the gravel at Turn 5 and a second when his car stopped on the track between Turns 9 and 10. The teams rough day continued when they discovered a water leak which prevented them from finishing out the remaining 30 minutes of the session. Nevertheless, Grosjean still finished out with a 1:21.110 with 76 laps logged in.
"you never feel totally prepared after testing and before you head to Australia. We only have eight days, of which you only get four as a driver and one of those was the wet day I had last week. Yes, the big teams are ready, but for us there are still a few unknowns going to Melbourne. That’s the charm of Formula One," said Grosjean.
McLaren-Honda's Fernando Alonso was only able to get 43 laps on his final day of pre-season testing as his car was plagued by electrical issues for the second day in a row before the lunch break when it stopped on the track.
The team only managed to get in short runs and a few quick laps on the ultra-softs with a time of 1:21.389. The last two weeks of setbacks have made what could be a challenging season for the team who will most likely take the season opener to further address the issues that continue to trouble their performance and reliability.
“Today was not the way we’d hoped to conclude the final day of pre-season testing. Yesterday’s electrical issues persisted, prompting us to make regular changes to the car throughout the day in order to identify what has been causing the car to lose power intermittently.
Racing Director Eric Boullier said: “Although we’ve suffered a number of issues over the course of two weeks of testing, we’ve certainly learned a lot about the car, and we know the problems that need to be addressed. Plainly speaking, they aren’t overnight fixes, but we’re hopeful both McLaren and Honda will be able to make progress on them ahead of Australia in two short weeks."
The two Saubers were at the bottom of the timesheets as Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein both finished out their final test program.
“It was an interesting morning, where I had some fun with short runs on supersoft and ultrasoft tyres. All in all a productive last morning session at the end of the pre-season testing – without having any issues with the car. For sure we made some more improvements today, but we are still not there, where we want to be. We still have to do some work to analyse all the data, to improve the car," said Ericsson.
As the final pre-season comes to a close the F1 one community was saddened by the passing of Formula One legend John Surtees, who won the 1964 Formula 1 world championship as well as a multi-motorcycle world championship winner.
2017 Formula One Testing – Barcelona Test 2, Day Four
1 K. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:18.634 111 Laps
2 M. Verstappen Red Bull 1:19.438 0.804 71 Laps
3 C. Sainz Toro Rosso 1:19.837 1.203 132 Laps
4 V. Bottas Mercedes 1:19.845 1.211 53 Laps
5 L. Hamilton Mercedes 1:19.850 1.216 54 Laps
6 N. Hulkenberg Renault 1:19.885 1.251 45 Laps
7 S. Perez Force India 1:20.116 1.482 128 Laps
8 J. Palmer Renault 1:20.205 1.571 43 Laps
9 L. Stroll Williams 1:20.335 1.701 132 Laps
10 R. Grosjean Haas 1:21.110 2.476 76 Laps
11 F. Alonso McLaren 1:21.389 2.755 43 Laps
12 M. Ericsson Sauber 1:21.670 3.036 59 Laps
13 P. Wehrlein Sauber 1:23.527 4.893 42 Laps