Barcelona test 2, day 4 - Raikkonen keeps Ferrari on top
More teams have hit trouble in the final day of pre-season testing at Barcelona. At a moment when one would expect reliability issues to be nearly ironed out, the lack of running for some teams was surprising.
Even though Fernando Alonso was out early, with the rear wing covered in flowviz, his morning running didn't last long. About 40 minutes into the session, having just completed the first sector of his first timed lap of the day, his McLaren MCL33 came to a halt at Turn 7. Alonso duly parked it on the service road, but just like on Wednesday, oil was spilt on the circuit, so marshalls still had quite a bit of work to get everything cleaned up for further running.
At 10:04, the session was green-flagged again, with Raikkonen soon going fastest, before Hamilton joined him on the timesheet with a slightly slower laptime. Hamilton, using Pirelli's supersofts, improved a few times to take the top spot, leaving Raikkonen in second.
The flurry of action didn't last long, as just 10 minutes later, Leclerc hit the barriers at Turn 12. He's lost it on a hot lap and in the same spot as he went off on Wednesday. Ericsson, his Sauber team-mate, has also caused a red flag this week by going off.
At 10:33, the session got going again, with Grosjean the first man to return to the track. The French Haas driver was one of the most busy men of the day so far.
Meanwhile, Carlos Sainz Jr and Renault were strangely absent from the action. Having done just 4 laps, the Renault team found a gearbox issue and were stuck in the garage trying to sort things out.
Grosjean continued to be very active, but it was Raikkonen who drew the attention at 12:10 when he went out on the hypersoft tyres. Many expected a quick lap, but the Finn recorded a 1m17.375s , confirming Ferrari's pre-season pace. Raikkonen improved on that furthermore with 1m17.221s, edging ever closer to the lap record.
Officially there was again nu lunch break, so the track remained available for everybody to test if needed. However, in reality, many teams opted to do a break anyway, leaving the track reasonably quiet over noon. Williams were the most active, and Sirotkin was therefore the first to hit the 100 laps mark. The team is set to make a driver change slightly later, with Stroll set to complete the final few hours after Kubica 'gave up his test opportunity to allow the race drivers more testing time'. A dubious explanation, but good news for Stroll for sure.
At 14:00, Fernando Alonso rejoined the action, nearly 5 hours after the oil leak stoppage. A new Renault engine in the back saw the Spaniard end up with a 7th fastest time and 15 laps completed in total around half an hour later.
The afternoon saw productive running throughout the field, with even Renault managing to get their car in action again, allowing Sainz to still do 41 laps before the end of pre-season testing for 2018.
Alonso and Ricciardo jumped the timing sheets at the very end as well, but we'll only see true performance in Australia, in just 2 weeks time.
|3.||Carlos Sainz jr||Renault||1:18.092||+0.871||45|
|4.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing||1:18.327||+1.106||92|
|5.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1||1:18.412||+1.191||181|
|6.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG||1:18.825||+1.604||104|
|7.||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso||1:18.949||+1.728||156|
|8.||Esteban Ocon||Force India||1:18.967||+1.746||163|
|11.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||1:19.464||+2.243||97|