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Raikkonen, Ferrari quickest as F1 testing in Barcelona ends

Kimi Raikkonen and his Ferrari ran the fastest lap of pre-season testing as the testing came to a close in Barcelona. Raikkonen lap of 1:18.643 bested Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen by eight tenths of a second.

Raikkonen’s quick lap came during the morning session and was run on supersoft compound tires. But all was not well with the Ferrari team as during the afternoon session Raikkonen encountered a technical issue and his car ground to a halt off course.

“There’s a good feeling with this car and that’s the most important thing." said Raikkonen "We have been reliable for almost all of these days of testing and that is another good sign of the great work the team has done over the winter. We are starting from a stronger base than last year: but it’s really too early to say how fast the car is compared to the others. Perhaps even Melbourne won’t give a 100 per cent precise picture of the situation, because the first race is always a bit unusual. We might have to wait until China. Either way I’d like to thank everyone in the team, because they have always managed to step in and sort out all the small problems that testing is supposed to resolve.”

Second on the timesheet went to Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen who focused on shorter runs in the morning and longer stints in the afternoon. Verstappen's best time of 1:19.483 was also set on supersoft tires.

“I’m not too worried about the small issues we’ve had; that’s what testing is for." said Verstappen "They aren’t major problems and I’m quite sure they will be solved before Melbourne. In terms of lap times, I think we just have to wait and see until the first race weekend. For us the most important thing today was to check the balance a bit more and work on getting the car where we want it. The performance is not too bad. For sure we want to improve, but for now it’s OK. Testing is just about trying to improve the car, it’s not about qualifying lap times.”

Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz earned third on the time sheet with a supersoft compound run just under four tenths of a second off Verstappen’s pace. It wasn’t all good for Sainz as he brought out the red flags in the afternoon when he cruised to a halt on the start-finish straight.

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas finished fourth, just five thousandths of a second ahead of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton who ran in the afternoon setting a best time of 1:19.850 on ultrasoft tires.

"I got in a reasonable amount of laps on my last morning in the car and leave testing feeling confident and ready to race." said Bottas "I feel that as a team we have been able to improve how we work together, that we have a great spirit and real will to win. It’s been so nice over these past two weeks to see how we operate as a group, both on and off the race track. Thanks to everyone in Brackley and Brixworth for creating this beautiful package. I hope we can extract the maximum from it straight from the word go in Melbourne. We’ve been testing lots of things, so it’s going to take a long time to analyse everything that we’ve done. I’ve had a massive learning curve over these eight days and that will continue but I can’t wait for the start lights to go out in Melbourne."

Added Hamilton, "It’s been a busy winter for us. I don’t remember how it was last year but this felt like a good couple of weeks. We’re working together better than ever as a team and Valtteri has done great to blend in and do a solid job. We’ve had our up and down days with the car, learnt a lot from that and made plenty of changes. I’m happy with what we’ve gained knowledge-wise and feel confident we got everything we needed from this test to go out and fight in Melbourne. The others seem quick, so it looks like we have a good battle on our hands. Ferrari have been doing a fantastic job. I think there’s more to come from them but their pace here has really been spectacular. I don’t know if Red Bull had their full package here. Usually they bring that to the first race but they’re definitely still up there and I expect a serious fight with both of those teams. I’ve never wished to dominate. Of course, I want a car that I can go out and fight for a Championship with – but for the fans it’s best when there’s multiple teams fighting for it. I just heard about John Surtees. To end the day with that kind of news is very sad. He was a legend of the sport – a lovely guy who did so much. It’s a shock to everyone. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family."

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was sixth ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez and Renault teammate Jolyon Palmer, both of whom also set their best times in the morning.

“I think we are well prepared for Melbourne." said Perez "We’ve been reliable this week and hit our targets in a lot of areas – especially in terms of getting miles on the car. We’ve learned a huge amount and understood where we can improve. Today was my busiest day in the car so far doing a bit of everything – short runs, long runs and set-up work to understand where we can find more performance from this car. Covering 128 laps is a positive way to end our pre-season and I’m really looking forward to Melbourne.”

Lance Stroll and his Williams were ninth-quickest.

"It was a good day today to end a good week." said Stroll "It was a fun day and I got to put the ultrasofts on and really feel the grip. It was awesome. I was on a mega lap on them but I went long into Turn 13, which cost me everything and I lost my lap. I was eight tenths up and it was looking good, but anyway it’s testing. I did some good running this afternoon with long runs so it’s all positive stuff. It was obviously a frustrating week last week with the couple of things that happened, but we had a good week this week. We got all our running in – long runs, short runs, and all compounds of tyres – so it was good. I think we still have to stay calm ahead of Australia and just do our work and then see where we are. It’s a new track for me as I have never been there, but I’m going to take it step-by-step and run-by-run."

Haas’ Romain Grosjean rounded out the top 10 with McLaren's Fernando Alonso in 11th place ahead of Sauber teammates Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein.

2017 Formula One Testing – Barcelona Test 2, Day Four
1 K. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:18.634
2 M. Verstappen Red Bull 1:19.438
3 C. Sainz Toro Rosso 1:19.837
4 V. Bottas Mercedes 1:19.845
5 L. Hamilton Mercedes 1:19.850
6 N. Hulkenberg Renault 1:19.885
7 S. Perez Force India 1:20.116
8 J. Palmer Renault 1:20.205
9 L. Stroll Williams 1:20.335
10 R. Grosjean Haas 1:21.110
11 F. Alonso McLaren 1:21.389
12 M. Ericsson Sauber 1:21.670
13 P. Wehrlein Sauber 1:23.527


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