Barcelona Test: Raikkonen and Ferrari go fastest of all
Kimi Räikkönen set the quickest lap of pre-season testing in Barcelona so far, as the Ferrari driver also debuted the new ‘Halo’ head protection system, which could become a feature of future F1 cars.
Räikkönen this morning emerged for his installation lap with the device fitted to his Ferrari SF-16H and after returning commented that “the first impressions of the visibility test is positive”. The device, initially developed by Mercedes, is among a number of solutions that have been the subject of intensive recent testing by the FIA.
With the brief trial complete, Räikkönen returned to the main body of his day’s work, discovering something of the performance potential of the new Ferrari ahead of the season-opening grand prix in Melbourne in a little over two weeks’ time.
The Finn first posted a good time on the soft compound Pirelli and then three hours into the morning session he bolted on a set of Pirelli’s new ultrasoft tyres to set a time of 1:22.765. The lap was the fastest of testing so far, edging out by 0.45s the ultrasoft lap set last week by team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
Today, Räikkönen’s best lap was good enough to eclipse second-place Felipe Massa by 0.428, though encouragingly for Williams, the Brazilian’s time was set on the soft tyre, two steps up Pirelli’s range in terms of hardness.
Massa was the only one of the top four drivers to set his best time on a tyre other than the ultrasoft, with third-placed Nico Hulkenberg of Force India and fourth-placed Max Verstappen of Toro Rosso using the purple-banded tyres for their best times. Hulkenberg finished 0.486 behind Räikkönen, while Verstappen was 0.617 adrift of the Finn’s benchmark.
After Toro Rosso team-mate Carlos Sainz claimed yesterday’s largest single lap total with 166, Verstappen did the same today, with the Dutch driver getting through 159 laps of the Circuit Bercelona-Catalunya.
Nico Rosberg was fifth-fastest, using the medium tyre to post a best lap of 1:24.126, 1.3s behind Räikkönen. Team-mate Lewis Hamilton was in P11, some three seconds off the pace as he did race simulation work on the medium tyre.
Sixth place went to Sauber’s Felipe Nasr, while McLaren again had a good day with Fernando Alonso completing 118 laps on his way to seventh spot on the timesheet. The Spaniard finished ahead of Manor rookie Pascal Wehrlein, Red Bull Racing’s Daniil Kvyat ands Renault’s Jolyon Palmer.
With Hamilton 11th, the final position on the timesheet went to Haas’ Romain Grosjean. After the team only managed a single lap on Wednesday following a turbo issue, Grosjean managed a decent 78-lap total today but the team’s problems continued as the Frenchman brought out the red flags three times across the day.
First he went off at Turn 4 to end morning running and then he stopped twice more in the afternoon, going off at Turn 1 and then stopping five minutes before the end of the session, a halt that brought the day’s running to an end.
Barcelona Test 2, Day 3 – Best Lap Times
|3.||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||Ultrasoft||1:23.251||137|
|4.||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||Ultrasoft||1:23.382||159|
|9.||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull||Soft||1:25.141||121|