Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen topped the morning session of the final day of testing at Barcelona this week. The Finn was fastest towards the lunch break as the track dried up following it being artificially soaked in the morning to test Pirelli's intermediate and full wet tyres.
The wetting via trucks before the start of the session only enabled a single hour of full wet tyre running as the Spanish sun turned up and decided to spoil Pirelli's party. The Italian tyre manufacturer then also backtracked on its plans to wet the track again as 11:00, instead opting to let the track dry up, and wet it again during the lunch break.
This situation obviously saw drivers first run full wets, before switching to inters and then dry weather tyres with times throughout the session slowly improving.
Raikkonen, Verstappen and Vandoorne were among the only ones to use the wet track in the morning, all lapping around 1m 40s. Verstappen subsequently switched to inters around the hour, raising the bar to 1m 30s before Raikkonen switched to slicks and immediately set 1m25.557s.
Late appearances saw Grosjean and Vandoorne move up to second and third fastest. Max Verstappen was fourth fastest with a best time on medium compound tyres.
Williams meanwhile did not come into action in the morning, and announced it would also not appear in the afternoon after it found chassis damage incurred in Stroll's Wednesday crash.
“Therefore, on safety grounds, the team will not run the car today", a team statement read. "A second chassis will be prepared at [the] track this afternoon as originally planned, with the team aiming to be back on track for the second test next week starting on Tuesday 7 March.”
Lewis Hamilton sat out most of the morning due to an electrical fault on his car. Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat similarly missed the chance to run in the wet conditions as the team was forced to replace the Renault power unit in the STR12.
After lunch, the track was sprayed again, but full wet tyre running only laster for 30 minutes. After that, a busy Valtteri Bottas switched to intermediates. Haas and Sauber were seen on track as well, but after an hour of running, the track was used only by Force India's Sergio Perez.
A bit later, at 15:14, Bottas enters the pit after a personal best and halts for his team to complete their 900th practice pitstop of the week!
At 15:30, most drivers decide it's good enough to use slicks, with Raikkonen, Bottas and Vandoorne going out. Verstappen was then released out on track as well after the team investigated yet another exhaust problem.
Once the track dried, teams and drivers were again more active following their hesitation to go out on track and risk ending up without replacement parts in case of car damage. Vandoorne and Perez for instance focused on timed laps with, among others, the super soft tyres. Vandoorne was later also out on track on the super softs, completing a lap in 1m22.5s.
Toro Rosso had further issues and halted running halfway through the afternoon, requiring another engine replacement, having already done the same in the first half of the morning session.
Mercedes also didn't have a perfect ending of the day, as 45 minutes before the scheduled end, the team found "something in the data it didn't like", ending its on-track action.
Half an hour before the end of the session, Raikkonen improved his earlier best, using soft tyres to go round in 1:20.872s, widening his advantage to Verstappen's Red Bull to 9 tenths of a second.
That closed the first week of testing at Barcelona, with which Ferrari will likely be happy. Mercedes have similar reasons to be confident, whie the relative positions of some of the competition will only become clear when they fit their final bits and pieces.
|2.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing||1:21.769||+0.897||85|
|4.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1||1:22.309||+1.437||118|
|6.||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:22.534||+1.662||82|
|8.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG||1:23.443||+2.571||68|
|10.||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||no time||-||1|
|11.||Felipe Massa||Williams||no time||-||0|
|12.||Carlos Sainz jr||Toro Rosso||no time||-||0|