• Second Barcelona test - Day 4

Raikkonen puts Lotus top again

Chris Medland in Barcelona March 4, 2012 « Good vibe at Toro Rosso - Ricciardo | Raikkonen ends testing on top »
Lotus has been quickest on two of the three days in Barcelona so far this week © Sutton Images
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Kimi Raikkonen showed more pace for Lotus as he set the quickest time of the test so far on the final morning of testing in Barcelona.

After a day disrupted by a power steering failure and rain on Saturday, Raikkonen completed 43 laps and was able to snatch top spot with a late lap on soft tyres. His time of 1:22.030 was 0.064s quicker than the previous best time set by Sergio Perez yesterday, which was also posted on softs.

Fernando Alonso gave Ferrari some late encouragement by setting the second fastest time and completing 63 laps. After the team's decision to cancel all driver interviews throughout the remainder of the weekend yesterday raised further concerns over its true position, Alonso topped the timesheets for most of the session with a 1:22.250 before Raikkonen's late lap.

Williams is splitting its drivers across the final day and Bruno Senna enjoyed a trouble-free morning, completing 53 laps on his way to third quickest in 1:22.296. Williams was even able to finish its programme early and start setting the car up for Pastor Maldonado half an hour before the lunch break.

Nico Hulkenberg was fourth quickest with a 1:22.312, but the main focus of his day will be a race simulation in the final session after he lost a lot of running on Friday afternoon with a driveline problem. He was just ahead of Kamui Kobayashi who spent most of the morning doing setup work and was 0.074s slower than Hulkenberg with a lap on supersoft tyres.

McLaren had a more productive day with its new package than Saturday, with Lewis Hamilton completing 60 laps and setting a best time just 0.4s slower than Raikkonen. Hamilton has already completed more mileage than team-mate Jenson Button managed with the upgraded car, and will spend the afternoon trying to find its optimal setup.

Vitaly Petrov received his new seat for the CT01 this weekend and ended the session seventh with a 1:22.795, just 0.1s slower than team-mate Heikki Kovalainen managed yesterday as Caterham again ran the supersofts. Michael Schumacher was eighth quickest with his best time set on soft tyres in the final half hour, 0.4s ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.

It was a difficult morning for Red Bull, however, as Sebastian Vettel only completed 15 laps. While early attention was attracted by umbrellas covering the rear of the car, when Vettel went out for his first run something appeared to fall off the front of the RB8 on the pit straight. The team aborted and Vettel didn't reappear until the final hour and a quarter of the session, completing two further short runs.

Times

Driver Car Time Laps
1. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus E20 1:22.030 41
2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari F2012 1:22.250 63
3. Bruno Senna Williams FW34 1:22.296 53
4. Nico Hulkenberg Force India VJM05 1:22.312 45
5. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber C31 1:22.386 57
6. Lewis Hamilton McLaren MP4-27 1:22.430 60
7. Vitaly Petrov Caterham CT01 1:22.795 43
8. Michael Schumacher Mercedes W03 1:22.939 57
9. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso STR7 1:23.393 53
10. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull RB8 1:23.608 15

Chris Medland is assistant editor at ESPNF1

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    Chris Medland is assistant editor at ESPNF1 Chris Medland, who in his youth even found the Pacific GPs entertaining, talked his way in to work at the British Grand Prix and was somehow retained for three years. He also worked on the BBC's F1 output prior to becoming assistant editor ahead of the 2011 season