A stunning lap from Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen saw the Finn head into the lunch hour at the head of the timesheets on Day 3 of pre-season testing in Barcelona.
Raikkonen clocked a 1m 17.762s, the fastest lap seen so far in the three days of testing in Spain, using the softest C5-compound Pirelli tyre to get the job done.
Raikkonen’s eye-opening time in the Alfa Romeo put him nearly six-tenths to the good over former team mate Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari, with the Scuderia having reigned at the top of the classification for the majority of the Barcelona test thus far. The German’s best, meanwhile, was a 1m 18.350s, while Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen were the only other drivers to make it below the 1m 19s mark in Wednesday’s running so far.
With Haas’ running order having changed due to issues stemming from a problem with Kevin Magnussen’s headrest yesterday, Pietro Fittipaldi found himself back in the VF-19, and after spending several laps running around in the wheeltracks of Valtteri Bottas – and presumably trying to tease out some of the Finn’s secrets around Barcelona – the young Brazilian ended his day’s running in a solid sixth place. There was a glitch in Fittipaldi’s morning, however, when the car ground to a halt out on track – the second time a Haas has had to be driven back to the pits on the back of a truck this week.
Fittipaldi will hand the Haas back to Romain Grosjean this afternoon, while Daniel Ricciardo will head back out for Renault – who continue to avoid using their DRS, following the Australian’s rear wing issues yesterday – while Lewis Hamilton will step into Bottas’ place at Mercedes, as the Silver Arrows seemingly continue to keep their powder dry, Bottas finishing his half day’s work ninth and last of the runners after appearing to focus on long-run pace.
Apart from Fittipaldi’s red flag, it was a largely issue-free morning, meanwhile, with Carlos Sainz looking to inject a little intrigue as the clock ticked towards the lunch break by spinning his McLaren into the gravel at Turn 13, before continuing on his way.
So, it’s an Alfa Romeo at the top of the timesheets midway through Wednesday – and with any luck, there should be a Williams in the classification by the end of the day, with the team’s FW42 having arrived in Barcelona early this morning.