Kimi Raikkonen became the first man to prevent another timesheet-topping performance from Ferrari after setting the pace on the morning of day three.
In a very encouraging day for the Alfa Romeo Racing team, Raikkonen’s late morning stint on the C5 tyre sent him to the top of standings with a 1:17.762.
In a problem-free day for the renamed Sauber team, the former Ferrari driver clocked over 60 laps as well as setting the best lap time of the test so far.
His lap time was over half-a-second faster than Sebastian Vettel’s earlier effort on the C3 tyres, but the Ferrari man was just a couple of tenths off beating his own benchmark from day one, despite being on a harder compound.
Nico Hulkenberg was at the wheel of a more encouraging morning for Renault – who suffered rear wing problems in the same session from yesterday – and set the third-fastest time with a 1:18.800.
Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen were the only other drivers to dip below the 1-minute-19-second marker.
Pietro Fittipaldi had been expected to run in the afternoon, but his stint in the Haas was brought forward to this morning.
Despite strong mileage for the youngster, his car ground to a halt mid-morning, but the severity of the stoppage is not thought to be big given the quick turnaround to get the car back out. He finished the morning in sixth.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was in the garage for a long time before eventually heading out a couple of hours into the session. He spun late on, but ended up seventh overall, with Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas completing the order. Mercedes once again seemed unwilling to go for outright lap times.
Williams are due to take part in the session but, as expected, their cars have had to be assembled, meaning they only have the afternoon session to register some mileage.
Results (Classification) (1:00pm):
- Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1:17.762 (C5) 64 Laps
- Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:18.350 (C2) 80 Laps
- Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:18.800 63 Laps
- Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:18.897 47 Laps
- Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:18.899 (C3) 33 Laps
- Pietro Fittipaldi Haas 1:19.249 (C4) 48 Laps
- Carlos Sainz McLaren 1:19.354 27 Laps
- Sergio Perez Racing Point 1:20.102 (C3) 43 Laps
- Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:20.693 (C3) 88 Laps