Raikkonen continues to set pace for Ferrari on closing day of testing
The morning session of the final day of pre-season testing saw a Ferrari fastest again, with Kimi Raikkonen setting the pace on ultra soft tyres. Meanwhile, McLaren and Haas had less positive starts to their day, with repeated stoppages causing red flags.
While the morning session proved reasonably busy, McLaren's Fernando Alonso was stuck in the pits for most of the morning. In the moments he did get out, he tried medium and ultra soft tyres. McLaren later confirmed that the team was struggling with an intermittent electrical shutdown, the same issue they had the day before.
At Haas, the problem was more related to brakes, with Grosjean publicly requesting the team to switch brake manufacturer. The Frenchman has struggled with the team's Brembo brakes thoughout 2016, and continues to do so in this year's pre-season testing. Grosjean caused a red flag after just half an hour of running by stopping in the pitlane. Exactly one hour later, he went off at turn 5, ending up in the gravel trap.
Meanwhile, Mercedes rubbed salt in the wounds of the troubled teams, by reporting they completed more than 1000 laps thus far in testing.
The times at midday were as follows:
|2.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing||1:19.438||+0.804||30|
|3.||Carlos Sainz jr||Toro Rosso||1:19.837||+1.203||39|
|4.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG||1:19.845||+1.211||50|
|6.||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:20.116||+1.482||46|
|8.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1||1:21.429||+2.795||40|
|11.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||no time||-||0|
|12.||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber||no time||-||0|
|13.||Jolyon Palmer||Renault||no time||-||0|
The afternoon session was once again very busy overall, with SAinz, Perez, Stroll and Raikkonen ending up with more than 100 laps on their tallies. For Mercedes the same was true, even though they obviously split duties over their two drivers.
Apart from Sainz' strong performance near the end to go third fastest with a run on ultrasoft, the fastest teams today were the same as we've seen throughout all testing, putting Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes ahead of the rest of the field.
At the bottom end of performance, we again saw Sauber going slowest, with both its drivers ranking at the bottom of the timesheet, despite Ericsson's late attempt on ultra softs. Their top speeds are similarly the slowest of all, with both Ericsson and Wehrlein passing by at 279 km/h.
Williams were once again fastest in the speed trap with 290km/h, with Alonso a surprising 5th fastest, which he thanks to using Stroll's slipstream. Otherwise, the McLaren Honda is fighting it out with Sauber in terms of top end speed.
Following up their brake related problems from the morning, Haas experienced a water leak late in the afternoon to bring their testing to an early end, closing the final day with 79 laps on the sheet.
The end of day times are as follows:
|2.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing||1:19.438||+0.804||71|
|3.||Carlos Sainz jr||Toro Rosso||1:19.837||+1.203||132|
|4.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG||1:19.845||+1.211||53|
|5.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||1:19.850||+1.216||54|
|7.||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:20.116||+1.482||128|
|10.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1||1:21.110||+2.476||76|