Testing – Formula 1 2018 pre-season testing has reached its conclusion – the final day ahead of the season opener in Australia.
18:00 – And that’s a wrap on testing! Kimi Raikkonen ends today fastest ahead of Alonso & Sainz.
Ferrari end the overall test with the fastest times in first and second with Vettel & Raikkonen respectively, but the real question mark is where Mercedes are. We haven’t seen them take on a balls to the wall effort this week, but you would imagine they are certainly well up there, if not the overall quickest.
17:30 – Just half an hour of pre-season testing remains, and Fernando Alonso has decided to give McLaren fans some optimism. He’s just logged a 1:17.981 on the HyperSoft. While still the guts of a second off the Ferrari in P1, that’s quicker than anyone else has managed today!
17:00 – It’s been a steady and quite dull afternoon, with lots and lots of laps put in by pretty much everyone. Valtteri Bottas has taken Mercedes over the 1000 lap mark for testing, and is P5 on the Medium tyres. In front of him, it remains Kimi Raikkonen fastest with his HyperSoft time from this morning, ahead of Carlos Sainz. While Renault lost all of this morning’s running, he is now up to almost 30 laps and is P2 with a 1:18.092 on the HyperSoft.
Daniel Ricciardo is P3 on the SuperSoft with a 1:18.327, and Romain Grosjean P4 on the UltraSoft.
13:45 – The unofficial lunch break has ended and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso is back out on track. The team have lost another good chunk of running today due to Alonso needing an engine chance, but the afternoon is still there to get some laps in.
In a chance of plan, Carlos Sainz is in the Renault this afternoon. It was supposed to be Hulkenberg but, due to the gearbox issue earlier on the car, Sainz will keep going. Kubica was supposed to be in the Williams but has decided to donate the session to Lance Stroll due to missing track time this week, while Bottas is in the Merc.
Strong teamwork in the garage gets Fernando back on track to continue win the afternoon’s run plan. #F1Testing pic.twitter.com/zKZNpke8py
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) March 9, 2018
12:45 – 1:17.221 for Kimi Raikkonen on another run on the HyperSofts. He’s all but matched Vettel’s pace from yesterday. There’s no official lunch break at the circuit today, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping the mid-day shutdown. Just Hartley & Hamilton remain on track at the moment.
As we approach non-lunchtime, Kimi sits atop the lap times
He's improved to a 1:17.221, achingly close to that unofficial lap record 👀#F1 #F1Testing pic.twitter.com/yGguEyRinH
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 9, 2018
12:15 – 1:17.375 from Kimi Raikkonen on the HyperSofts puts him more than a second clear at the front. It’s a little slower than what Vettel managed yesterday but it’s Ferrari again the only team in the 17s during testing.
Hamilton is currently in the 1:20s and on the Medium tyre.
11:50 – Some pictures from our image partners, Octane Photographic, of Fernando Alonso’s stoppage earlier. Apparently, McLaren are currently working on fitting the MCL33 with a new Renault power unit.
11:40 – Romain Grosjean is back into P2 in the Haas, setting a 1:18.5 to displace Hamilton. Grosjean set that time using the SuperSoft tyre, having put in a 1:19.0 a few minutes ago. That means the top four of Vettel, Grosjean, Hamilton & Hartley are separated by 1.4 seconds in total, having all used the SuperSoft tyres for their best times.
Daniel Ricciardo, currently P6, is out on Medium tyres and seems to be concentrating on long runs.
11:15 – 1:18.282 from Kimi Raikkonen sees the Finn jump to the top. While that time is over a second slower than what Vettel managed around this time yesterday, Raikkonen was running the SuperSoft tyre, compared to Vettel’s HyperSoft.
Hamilton is P2 on a 1:19.464 on the same SuperSoft tyre.
We’re yet to see any times from the two Spaniards in the field. Fernando Alonso is on the sidelines for now, following his apparent engine problem an hour ago. Carlos Sainz is also absent, having only put in a handful of single laps so far.
.@BrendonHartley improves on his 45th lap with a 1:19.905 👍
Watch: 🎥 pic.twitter.com/yPd9mOevzK
— Toro Rosso (@ToroRosso) March 9, 2018
He only completed a partial programme on Wednesday due to illness
But Kimi is back for one final pre-season run at @Circuitcat_eng 💪#F1 #F1Testing pic.twitter.com/L9RiXoNopl
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 9, 2018
10:40 – Lewis Hamilton has gone fastest on the SuperSofts, setting a 1:19.464. Kimi Raikkonen is P2 for Ferrari, 0.3 down on the Mercedes with his best time set on the Softs. Esteban Ocon is P3, less than a tenth behind the Ferrari on the same tyres.
10:30 – Toro Rosso continue on track, they’ve had a good week with Pierre Gasly wrapping up Thursday with P3 and over 100 laps completed. Hartley is up to 26 laps completed so far today, but is currently slowest with a 1:21.053.
Very happy about the pace. But pushed too much, spun and touched the wall a little bit. Stupid to do that at this time of the day, I will learn from it. Hopefully back on track soon. pic.twitter.com/w9gIHXZE7n
— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) March 9, 2018
10:20 – Another red flag, this time it’s for Charles Leclerc, who has gotten stuck in the gravel at Turn 12. The track is not due to return to green for another ten minutes due to barrier repair required, suggesting that the Sauber struck the barrier.
After a bit of time spent musing technical matters in the garage – @RGrosjean out lapping again on new softs. #F1Testing pic.twitter.com/ggLoKkDp0G
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) March 9, 2018
09:50 – Red flag. It’s for…Fernando Alonso. The McLaren has broken down at the exact same place it broke down on Wednesday, Turn 7. He’s even parked the car in the same place at the same angle. Oh dear. He’d just gone purple in the first sector too…
09:45 – It’s been a busy opening 45 minutes, with seven times on the board. Romain Grosjean leads the way for Haas, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, who returns to the cockpit after illness earlier this week.
09:00 – It’s the final day before the Australian Grand Prix, so we’re expecting today to be quite busy as teams make the most of their final preparation time.
Driving today we have:
- Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton
- Ferrari – Kimi Raikkonen
- Red Bull Racing – Daniel Ricciardo
- Force India – Esteban Ocon
- Williams – Sergey Sirotkin
- Renault – Carlos Sainz
- Toro Rosso – Brendon Hartley
- Haas – Romain Grosjean
- McLaren – Fernando Alonso
- Sauber – Charles Leclerc