Raikkonen flies, McLaren and Alonso falter

Date published: March 9 2018

“Engine… five laps” were reportedly words uttered by Fernando Alonso as he made his way back into the McLaren hospitality after breaking down on the final morning of testing.

Following Stoffel Vandoorne’s 150-plus laps on Thursday, Alonso was hoping for a productive last day of testing.

That, though, came to naught.

The Spaniard’s Renault-powered MCL33 broke down at Turn Seven after just five laps, bringing out the day’s first red flag.

His car was returned to the pits on a flatbed truck with Alonso reportedly saying it was the “engine” that caused the problem.

Alonso did not venture out again as his McLaren required an engine change after the turbo failure.

Meanwhile Charles Leclerc held up his hand as the one responsible when he brought out the day’s second red.

He hit the barriers at Turn 11, damaging his Sauber and the barriers.

Leclerc admitted it was a driver error that put him into the wall.

“We had an encounter with some gravel and the wall,” tweeted Sauber. “The team is working hard on getting the car back out on track.”

Out on track it was Kimi Raikkonen who picked up where Sebastian Vettel left off as the Finn, using the hypersoft tyres, laid down a 1:17.221 prior to the lunch break.

Were it not for Vettel’s 1:17.182 from Thursday, Raikkonen’s time would have been a lap record.

Romain Grosjean was second for Haas, repeating Kevin Magnussen’s feat from the previous day. He clocked a 1:18.590 on the supersoft tyres.

Brendon Hartley was third ahead of Lewis Hamilton. The Brit amassed 97 laps and tweeted: “I’m really proud of you all. Looking forward to taking this car to Melbourne!”

Esteban Ocon was fifth fastest ahead of Sergey Sirotkin, Daniel Ricciardo, and Leclerc.

Alonso and Carlos Sainz did not set times with the latter stuck in the garage due to a reported gearbox problem with his RS18.

Times
1) Raikkonen, Ferrari, 65 laps 1:17.221
2) Romain Grosjean, Haas, 75 laps 1:18.590
3) Hartley, Toro Rosso, 91 laps 1:18.949
4) Hamilton, Mercedes, 97 laps 1:19.464
5) Ocon, Force India, 61 laps 1:19.667
6) Sirotkin, Williams, 72 laps 1:20.250
7) Ricciardo, Red Bull, 47 laps 1:20.275
8) Leclerc, Sauber, 18 laps 1:20.878
9) Alonso, McLaren, 7 laps, no time
10) Sainz, Renault, 4 laps, no time