Today marked the last outing for the 2017 cars and drivers before landing in Melbourne in 2 weeks’ time. Naturally, data gathering is important at this stage for teams like McLaren-Honda, who have had the worst start to their season. McLaren drivers put together 4 days of running couldn’t make up to Sebastian Vettel’s 2 days’ worth laps. While things are looking grim for the Woking based team, back in Milton Keynes, the Red Bull Racing squad despite being quick enough, have conceded to losing P2 to Ferrari seeing their recent pace. Are we seeing mental games at this point? Is it too early for such claims? We’ll try to answer that in the upcoming days.
Here is the summary of the final day of the pre-season tests.
1. Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen’s laptime of 1:18:634 has arguably given a much clearer picture of Ferrari’spotential this season. The Finn being the first one of the lot to break the 1m 19s barrier seen throughout the tests on a set of super soft tires.
2. Max Verstappen in the RB13 slotted in behind Raikkonen – nearly 8 tenths behind. The Red Bulls seemed to be on a programme different to Ferrari’s clearly for Verstappen too logged his fastest time on the super soft tire.
3. Towards the end of the session, Carlos Sainz in the Toro Rosso displaced Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas who had originally set his fastest lap on the super soft tires. Sainz was a small 0.008s up on the Mercedes car.
4. Romain Grosjean in the Haas spun off of turn 5, which saw him sit in the gravel trap. Further into the session, the French driver was further hindered with technical issues in the car which saw the Red Flag stopping the session briefly.
5. On McLaren Honda’s most crucial day, Fernando Alonso managed to stop the MCL32 on track on two separate occasions with electrical issues. Alonso was very vocal the day before, particularly unhappy with the Honda engine, and it seems like no amount of talking can put it all back on the right track as of Day 4. After logging a meagre 19 laps, Honda only hopes it can get its issues fixed before going into the official season.
1. Kimi Raikkonen can now leave Circuit de Catalunya with the fastest time set as pre-season testing wraps up. The Finn’s time has taken him through the afternoon without any displacement despite losing his car at T13 which resulted in a spin.
2. Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz too managed to hold their positions till the end. However, the latter caused the 6th and last red flag of the day when he pulled up on the start finish straight.
3. Valtteri Bottas’ time kept him ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton who posted his lap time on a set of ultra soft tires. The 3 time world champion was 0.005s adrift of his new teammate.
4. Lance Stroll in the Williams was only 9th, but managed to complete solid 132 laps to cover for his lack of testing last week. The 18 year old looked more comfortable in the FW40 than he had all week – racking up 200+ laps in his 2 days.
5. McLaren Honda recovered from their morning slump and helped Fernando Alonso rack up 43 laps at the end of the day. This doesn’t change the fact that the outfit has managed the least number of laps during the 8 days of testing.
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