Raikkonen tops final day of Jerez test

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Day 4 - Jerez, Spain

Kimi Raikkonen topped the final day of an encouraging first pre-season test for Ferrari at the Circuito de Jerez.

With Sebastian Vettel having set the pace on the first two days of testing in southern Spain, Raikkonen was second quickest on day three and then posted the fastest time of the week on the final afternoon of running. Raikkonen’s time of 1:20.841 was just 0.1s clear of Vettel’s best, but more than 1.1s faster than the rest of the field on Wednesday.

Ferrari ended the week as the only team to dip under the 1m21s mark, and 95 laps on the last day ensured the team completed a strong first test with plenty of mileage as well as headline lap times.

Not only was Raikkonen fastest, but Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson finished second once again to ensure both Ferrari-powered teams finished one-two on each of the four days of testing. Ericsson set his fastest time of the day late on as part of a longer run which took him beyond the 100 lap mark, highlighting the reliability of the new Ferrari power unit.

Ericsson did cause a red flag late in the day - stopping between turns 9 and 10 - but with the Sauber coming to a halt on an out lap following a red flag for track debris it suggests the team may have been carrying out a fuel run-out test.

Lewis Hamilton was third for Mercedes as the team’s W06 clocked up the most mileage for the fourth consecutive day. While the 2014 champion completed over 100 laps, he again failed to match the track time of team-mate Nico Rosberg as a spin at the chicane in the morning session saw him bring out the red flags.

Max Verstappen almost made it four drivers with more than 100 laps, but the two late red flags restricted him to 97 on the final day. The young Toro Rosso driver set a best time of 1:22.553 and gathered more data for Renault, which will be shared with Red Bull in a process which team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr says is “crucial”.

Verstappen’s mileage was again important due to trouble for the senior Red Bull team, with Daniil Kvyat stopping on track early in the morning. It wasn’t until midway through the day that Kvyat returned, finally allowing him to set representative lap times following an off on Monday which saw him run without a front wing for most of the day. Kvyat finished the day seventh, over three seconds off the pace in the RB11.

Sandwiched between the Toro Rosso and Red Bull were Felipe Massa and Romain Grosjean. Williams again completed a solid day without drama, completing 73 laps, while Grosjean’s first taste of the E23 was ended after 53 laps due to a power unit issue. However, the Lotus driver was pleased with his first impressions of the new car and Mercedes power unit in particular, describing the latter as “perfect”.

Once again it was a McLaren-Honda at the bottom of the times, with Jenson Button completing the most mileage for the team in one day as he managed 35 laps. A best time of 1:27.660 was also McLaren’s fastest of the week, but once again reliability issues saw it end its running early as the a fuel pump problem curtailed the team’s test.

Click here for the full final day gallery from the Jerez test

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Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:20.841 106
2 M. Ericsson Sauber 1:22.019 112
3 L. Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.172 117
4 M. Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:22.553 97
5 F. Massa Williams 1:23:116 73
6 R. Grosjean Lotus 1:23.802 53
7 D. Kvyat Red Bull 1:23.975 64
8 J. Button McLaren 1:27.660 35