Raikkonen fastest on final day of testing in Spain

Formula One

There was drama in the closing minutes of F1 pre-season testing on Friday as McLaren and Renault completed low-fuel runs to vault up the timesheets, but ultimately nobody could knock Ferrari off the top spot.

Kimi Raikkonen’s leading time from the morning, set on Pirelli's hypersoft tyres, was too good for the rest with Fernando Alonso slotting into second, just over half a second adrift in the McLaren.

However, it put a gloss on what has otherwise been a frustrating pre-season test for the British team, who had high hopes after switching from Honda to Renault power.

Alonso failed to set a timed lap in the morning and spent several hours in the garage after a turbo issue forced an engine change.

The Spaniard got out in the afternoon, compressing the team’s planned programme into the remaining few hours and ended the day with 93 laps on the board.

Renault had difficulties, too, with a gearbox glitch limiting Carlo Sainz’s running in the morning. Once fixed, the team then took the decision to keep him in the car, rather than have Nico Hulkenberg take over as planned, to make up for the lost time.

Sainz got back out and used the hypersofts late on to set the third quickest time, nearly nine-tenths off Raikkonen’s leading pace.

Williams tweaked their schedule, with Robert Kubica choosing to give up his time in the car to give race drivers Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin longer to get comfortable ahead of the new season.

Mercedes had the most productive day, with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas sharing driving duties to clock up 201 laps between them, as they focused on running the harder tyre compounds rather than chasing lap times.

Teams will now head back to their bases to crunch the data and fine tune their cars before heading to Australia, with the first race of the 2018 season taking place on March 25.



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