Raikkonen leads the way on final day


Kimi Raikkonen concluded the opening pre-season with the day’s fastest lap time after improving late in the afternoon on a drying Circuit de Catalunya.

Thursday’s running in Spain was dedicated to Pirelli’s wet weather tyres with trucks artificially wetting the Barcelona circuit.

The track dried out as the afternoon progressed, allowing Raikkonen to lower the benchmark time to a 1:20.872 in the hour before the close of play.

But while Ferrari came to the fore, main rivals Mercedes ran into trouble for the first time this week.

Lewis Hamilton was ruled out of his morning’s session with an electrical issue, leading to the decision to bench him for the day.

His team-mate Valtteri Bottas was able to run in the afternoon, adding 68 laps but finishing down in eighth place.

Max Verstappen was second quickest for Red Bull Racing but 0.897 seconds off Raikkonen’s best while Jolyon Palmer was third for Renault.

Romain Grosjean and Antonio Giovinazzi were next in line, two of the busiest drivers in the wet as they covered 118 and 82 laps respectively.

Sergio Perez was sixth for Force India, finishing ahead of McLaren-Honda’s Stoffel Vandoorne. The Belgian racer covered 67 laps on the day.

Nico Hulkenberg was ninth while Daniil Kvyat did just one lap in the Toro Rosso before it had to undergo a Renault engine change.

1 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m20.872s 93 laps
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1m21.769s 0.897s 85 laps
3 Jolyon Palmer Renault    1m21.778s 0.906s 39 laps
4 Romain Grosjean Haas 1m22.309s 1.437s 118 laps
5 Antonio Giovinazzi Sauber 1m22.401s 1.529s 84 laps
6 Sergio Perez Force India 1m22.534s 1.662s 82 laps
7 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1m22.576s 1.704s 67 laps
8 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m23.443s 2.571s 68 laps
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m24.974s 4.102s 51 laps
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso no time 1 lap