Formula 1 pre-season has now officially come to an end with less than two weeks to go before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, and Kimi Räikkönen bookended the twelve days of running in Spain by going fastest overall, just as he had done on the very first day of pre-season running.
The ten teams were greeted with overcast conditions – but thankfully dry, after the hailstorm that his the circuit on Saturday – when the track opened for business at 9am local time.
The conditions allowed teams to concentrate on performing vital race simulations in the afternoon, and Räikkönen’s fastest time of 1:22.030 came in the final twenty minutes of the morning’s running, before the action stopped for the customary one-hour lunch break.
In the afternoon, the former World Champion completed a full race distance. Running a three-stop strategy (using three sets of soft Pirelli tyres, and one set of the hard tyres), he racked up a succession of 65 laps.
Top spot on the timesheets in the morning was shared by Fernando Alonso, Bruno Senna and Lewis Hamilton, who ended the day second, third and sixth-fastest.
Much of the attention was directed Red Bull’s way, with Sebastian Vettel enduring a frustrating day in the RB8, which was confined to the garage for much of the day while his team investigated a gearbox problem.
The day saw two red flag stoppages. Kamui Kobayashi parked his Sauber with a suspected engine problem mid-afternoon, before Vitaly Petrov slid into the Turn 4 gravel trap with half an hour’s running to go.
The final session times were as follows:
|1.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E20||1:22.030||121|
|2.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||1:22.250||+ 0.220||115|
|3.||Bruno Senna||Williams Renault FW34||1:22.296||+ 0.266||53|
|4.||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India Mercedes VJM05||1:22.312||+ 0.282||101|
|5.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:22.386||+ 0.356||72|
|6.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||1:22.430||+ 0.400||115|
|7.||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham Renault CT01||1:22.795||+ 0.765||101|
|8.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:22.939||+ 0.909||100|
|9.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW34||1:23.347||+ 1.317||48|
|10.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:23.393||+ 1.363||100|
|11.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:23.608||+ 1.578||23|
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