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Raikkonen tops final day of testing, McLaren woes continue

Barcelona Testing – Kimi Raikkonen was fastest on the final day of pre-season testing, whilst McLaren continued to face problems.

Raikkonen’s time of 1:18.634 from the morning session was good enough to see him end the day fastest. It is the fastest time seen throughout winter testing, just three tenths of a second away from the ultimate lap record of the Barcelona circuit, set by Felipe Massa in a 2008-9 hybrid test car.

Ferrari had a small drama halfway through the afternoon when a problem on the car reared its head whilst Raikkonen was on track. As he drove back to the pits, the rear brakes seized and pitched the Finn around at the final chicane.

The stricken car needed the red flags to be brought out for the marshals to recover.

Also bringing out red flags was McLaren as their reliability troubles continued to show no signs of disappearing any time soon. Fernando Alonso stopped on track twice in the morning session, once at Turn 9 and then at Turn 4 almost immediately after getting back on track.

The team completed just 43 laps, and have an uphill struggle to be competitive for the first race in Melbourne on March 26.

Max Verstappen set his fastest time in the morning session, eight tenths of a second off Raikkonen. Both drivers set their times on the supersoft tyre.

The Dutchman was kept in the garage briefly in the afternoon with a turbo problem, with the Red Bull driver clocking a mild 69 laps for the day.

Carlos Sainz on the ultrasoft tyre was third fastest, but brought out the final red flag of testing when he stopped on the start/finish straight in the closing hour of the session. Despite this, the Spaniard still completed an impressive 129 laps for the day.

Valtteri Bottas’ morning time on the supersoft tyre kept him in fourth, ahead of team mate Lewis Hamilton who took over in the afternoon and was fifth on the ultrasoft tyre.

The duo’s efforts pushed Mercedes beyond the 1,000-lap mark for pre-season testing mileage, a remarkable feat and the only team to have done so.

Nico Hulkenberg was sixth fastest with 45 laps on the board from the morning. Team mate Jolyon Palmer added a further 43 to Renault’s tally, with the Briton finishing the session eighth. Both drivers did their best times on the ultrasofts.

Sergio Perez was seventh on another drama-free day for Force India. The Mexican was one of four drivers to surpass a century of laps during the day, the others being Raikkonen, Sainz and Lance Stroll in ninth for Williams.

Romain Grosjean was tenth on the ultrasoft tyre as Haas had a difficult end to pre-season testing. The Frenchman brought out the red flag early in the running when he hit the gravel at Turn 5, then again in the closing stages of the morning his VF-17 broke down at Turn 10.

A water leak towards the end of the day put him out of the running for the rest of the session, ending his lap total at 76.

The two Saubers sat at the bottom of the timesheets with Marcus Ericsson on the ultrasofts leading Pascal Wehrlein on the softs. Together, they put in 101 laps for the team.

The next time the cars hit the track will be in FP1 for the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time on March 24.

To see the results from the session, click here.

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About Chris Stevens

Chris is one of the graduates of a new blogging era of journalism. Moving from that to fully blown websites, covering Formula One and Formula E, has seen him become an FIA accredited journalist. He also podcasts with various websites and recently was accepted onto the Autosport junior programme.

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