Kimi Raikkonen has brought pre-season testing to an end on the highest possible note, bringing his Lotus E21 to top of the time sheets. The Finn who’s running was cut short yesterday with a mechanical problem, completed 83 laps for a best lap of 1:18.148, still well off the best time of the week, set yesterday by Felipe Massa.
Jules Bianchi, who has been well linked to the Silverstone based team’s second seat, took the VJM06 around the track in a lap of 1.18.175 after 56 laps. Today was Bianchi’s only time in the car this week as Paul di Resta and the team’s simulator driver, James Rossiter took the car out on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Sebastian Vettel took his RB9 around Jerez in a 1:18.565 following 96 laps of the circuit. Esteban Gutierrez was right behind the German, setting a best time of 1.18.669 with the new look, grey Sauber. The Mexican is preparing to enter his first season in F1, replacing fellow Mexican, Sergio Perez, at the Swiss team.
Jean-Eric Vergne finished up in fifth place, a regular spot on the time sheets for Red Bull’s sister team. Neither Daniel Ricciardo nor Jean-Eric Vergne gave anybody anything to laugh at, having stayed consistently quite high in the time sheets. Lewis Hamilton came home in sixth place overall, his second day of testing going far better than the first which saw the Briton’s brakes failing and sending him into barriers. Lewis’ best lap of 1.18.905 was set during a whopping 145 laps, just four short of the track record set by his team-mate the day before.
Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren replacement was right behind the 2008 World Champion with a lap time of 1:18.944. Valterri Bottas finished very far back from the Mexican, nearly a full second to be precise. The Finn brought his FW33 around the track 92 times during which he set a lap time of 1:19.851. Ferrari reserve driver Pedro de la Rosa was a further half a second off Bottas, his engine blowing up on the Spaniards 51st lap, bringing to a close a slow day for the team. Alonso will get his first taste of the F138 at the next test in Catalunya in under two weeks time.
Charles Pic’s Caterham set a best time of 1.21.105 which saw him beat Marussia’s Luiz Razia who managed a fastest lap of 1.21.226. In 12th and last was Paul di Resta who got the afternoon session in the car. The Scot had given yesterday’s morning session to the simulator driver James Rossiter but when di Resta took the car out in the afternoon, it failed after 7 laps. Paul’s lap of 1.23.435 was set while completing a 49 lap heavy fuel simulation.
Testing resumes on Tuesday 19th February from Catalunya.