Scuderia Ferrari and Kimi Räikkönen have proven fastest on the stopwatch as Formula 1’s 2017 pre-season testing drew to a close at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
With many expecting a number of teams to finally show their hand and potential pace ahead of this month’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix, Räikkönen rocketed around the 4.655-kilometre circuit with a staggering 1:18.634 effort on Pirelli’s Super Soft compound tyre during the morning session.
It wasn’t a completely troublefree session for the Finn, however, as he brought out the red flags in the afternoon with an electrical issue that pitched him into a spin at Turn 13. He returned to the track in the final 20 minutes of the session, surpassing the 100-lap mark for his day’s efforts.
The 2007 World Champion’s time was eight-tenths of a second faster than Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, who lost the majority of his morning’s running while his mechanics solved a turbo issue in his RB13. Once out on track, the Dutch driver managed 71 laps for the day, with his fastest lap time also clocked on the Super Soft tyres.
Another team suffering mechanical dramas was – not surprisingly – McLaren, which closed out its nightmare pre-season with a meagre 43 laps for Fernando Alonso. The two-time World Champion twice stopped out on track in the morning with electrical issues similar to what had impeded teammate Stoffel Vandoorne’s running the day before.
Once he did get back out on track in the afternoon, his fastest lap was almost three seconds off Räikkönen’s ultimate pace – and the Spaniard’s was posted on the Ultra Soft tyres…
Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr bettered the previous day’s effort of teammate Daniil Kvyat by getting into the top-three on the timesheets, thanks to an Ultra Soft tyre run. The Spaniard caused the sixth and last red flag of a very disrupted day when he stopped on the start/finish straight late in the afternoon.
He was, however, able to return to action later in the day, rounding out his programme with a hefty 132 laps for his efforts.
That tally was matched by Williams rookie Lance Stroll, who seemed to have suppressed his error-prone ways with another assured display behind the wheel of the FW40.
Mercedes split its running between Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton once again. The pair was separated by just five-thousandths of a second on the stopwatch, with Bottas edging the Briton in the final reckoning. Neither driver appeared to be aiming to show the car’s outright pace.
Renault also had both Nico Hülkenberg and Jolyon Palmer in action on its final pre-season track day. The RS17 managed 88 laps for the day, with both drivers posting their fastest laps on the Ultra Soft tyres.
They sandwiched Force India’s Sergio Pérez on the timesheets; the Mexican managed a hefty 128 laps for the day, although he did stutter to a halt at pit entry in the final ten minutes of the day. His mechanics were able to push his car back to the garage without the need for the session to be red-flagged a seventh time.
Romain Grosjean was a culprit for three of the day’s red flags. The Haas F1 driver spun off into the gravel at Turn 5 – the team’s braking issues from last year are seemingly still unresolved – and then stopped a second time with a fuel sensor issue. In the afternoon session, his VF-17 ground to a halt with a water leak and didn’t get back out on track.
Running at the bottom of the time sheets were the Sauber pairing of Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein, who managed 101 laps between them in the C36.
|2017 FORMULA 1 PRE-SEASON TEST – DAY 8 UNOFFICIAL TIMES|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Tyre||Laps|
|1.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:18.634||111|
|2.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:19.438||71|
|3.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR12||1:19.837||132|
|4.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:19.845||53|
|5.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:19.850||54|
|6.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:19.885||45|
|7.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:20.116||128|
|8.||Jolyon Palmer||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:20.205||43|
|9.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:20.335||132|
|10.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:21.110||76|
|11.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda MP4-31||1:21.389||43|
|12.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:21.670||59|
|13.||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:23.527||42|
Image via Scuderia Ferrari