• Second Barcelona test - Day 4

Raikkonen ends testing on top

ESPNF1 Staff
March 4, 2012 « Raikkonen puts Lotus top again | Engine problem taints Kobayashi's final day »
Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest time of pre-season testing at Barcelona on Sunday © Sutton Images
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Kimi Raikkonen rounded off pre-season testing in the same manner he started it by topping the timesheets at Barcelona in the Lotus E20.

Raikkonen has only taken part in four pre-season test days this year due to a problem with one of the front suspension mountings on the E20 at the second test, but he has topped two of them and his time on Sunday stands as the fastest overall at the two Barcelona tests. He clocked a 1:22.030 just before the lunch break and completed 121 laps overall.

Fernando Alonso was second fastest as Ferrari's true pace remains something of a mystery. The team admitted on Friday that it is still struggling to get a full understanding of the car and then decided to cancel all driver interviews for the remainder of the weekend. However, Alonso's 1:22.250 was the fastest time yet from the F2012 and his 115 laps will give the team plenty of data to analyse ahead of the opening grand prix in Australia.

But perhaps the most interesting story from Sunday's test was Red Bull's absence for much of the afternoon. Sebastian Vettel completed just 17 laps in the updated RB8 before a gearbox problem left the new chassis garage-bound. He returned to the track with just a few minutes of the session remaining but only added another five laps to his tally. What's more he damaged the car's new front wing after scuttling across a gravel trap early in the morning. The new-specification Red Bull completed 70 laps with Mark Webber at the wheel on Saturday, but the team would have hoped for more mileage ahead of Melbourne.

There were more positive signs at Williams, which decided to split its final day of running between its two drivers. Bruno Senna set the third fastest time in the morning with a 1:22.296 before Pastor Maldonado took over for some longer runs in the afternoon, setting the ninth fastest lap.

Nico Hulkenberg was fourth fastest after another solid day's testing for Force India. He made up for some of the time lost earlier in the week with a driveline issue but still didn't complete a full race simulation in the afternoon. 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. However, a race simulation went awry for Sauber in the afternoon when Kobayashi stopped on track with an engine problem.

McLaren had a productive day with its new package as Lewis Hamilton completed 115 laps and set a best time just 0.4s slower than Raikkonen. Hamilton completed more than double the mileage team-mate Jenson Button managed with the upgraded car on Saturday, and spent the afternoon trying to find its optimal setup ahead of Australia.

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

Times

Driver Car Time Laps
1. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus E20 1:22.030 121
2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari F2012 1:22.250 115
3. Bruno Senna Williams FW34 1:22.296 53
4. Nico Hulkenberg Force India VJM05 1:22.312 101
5. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber C31 1:22.386 72
6. Lewis Hamilton McLaren MP4-27 1:22.430 115
7. Vitaly Petrov Caterham CT01 1:22.795 101
8. Michael Schumacher Mercedes W03 1:22.939 100
9. Pastor Maldonado Williams FW34 1:23.347 48
10. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso STR7 1:23.393 100
11. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull RB8 1:23.608 23

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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