Mar.4 (PVM) Formula 1 pre-season testing in Barcelona ended as it began a month earlier at Jerez de la Frontera, with comeback world champion Kimi Raikkonen topping the timing sheets, in the Lotus E20.
The Iceman bounced back in fine style after his first troubled day back in the cockpit 24 hours earlier, when he was slowest of all and with comparatively few laps to his credit as the team grappled with a steering issue.
Since then the problem appears to be resolved as Raikkonen powered around the Spanish Grand Prix venue fastest of all, in a time of 1 minute 22.030 seconds. He was thus quicker than anyone in Barcelona all week, while notching up more laps – 121 – than anyone else on the day.
Raikkonen’s best time was set just after noon, with a set of Pirelli softs bolted on to the E20 and with teams committed to long runs in the afternoon session the time remained unchallenged until the end of the day. Notable was the fact that the Finn did a pretty impressive race simulation of 65 laps using three sets of Pirelli softs and a hard set – drop off was less than two seconds on each set.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, world champion Sebastian Vettel had his worst day back at work this year. A gearbox problem on the heavily revised Red Bull RB8, struck early on in the day, which ultimately curtailed his track activity to a mere 23 laps. Adding insult to injury was the fact that the world champions end their pre-season testing at the very bottom of the timing sheets.
At the sharp end of proceedings all day was Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari F2012. The Spaniard 0.220 seconds down on the driver (Raikkonen) whose place he took at the Maranello squad in 2012.
Bruno Senna, who again appeared to extract more out of the Williams FW34 than his team mate, ended the day third fastest with 53 laps on his chart before handing over to Pastor Maldonado who then reeled off 48 laps. He ended the day ninth fastest and a second down on Senna.
Fifth fastest was Nico Hulkenberg who completed 101 laps in the Force India VJM05.
Next best was Kamui Kobayashi who completed 72 laps in the Sauber C31, before an issue on the Ferrari power plant ended their day prematurely with 90 minutes of testing still remaining.
Although only sixth fastest at the end of the final day, Lewis Hamilton showed the most impressive pace during race simulation mode in the McLaren MP4-27, the 2008 world champion completing 115 laps.
Biggest mover, compared to the his first run on the opening day, was Vitaly Petrov who ended the day seventh fastest in the Caterham CT01 with 101 laps on his chart. His time was 2.1 seconds up on his best time on Thursday.
The last driver within one second of Raikkonen’s best was Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes AMG W03 who ended the day eighth on the timing sheets with exactly 100 laps to his credit. The seven times world champion kept busy with 10 lap stints on soft rubber.
Tenth fastest, sandwiched between Maldonado and Vettel on the timing screens, was Daniel Ricciardo in the Toro Rosso STR7 with 100 laps notched up.
HRT and Marussia were not present on the final day or any day in Barcelona for that matter.
Barcelona Test Day 4 – Sunday, 4 March 2012
|P||Drive||Team||Time – Tyres||Laps|
|1||K.Raikkonen||Lotus F1||1:22.030 – Soft||—||121|
|2||F.Alonso||Ferrari||1:22.250 – Soft||+0.220||115|
|3||B.Senna||Williams||1:22.296 – Soft||+0.266||53|
|4||N.Hulkenberg||Force India||1:22.312 – Soft||+0.282||101|
|5||K.Kobayashi||Sauber||1:22.386 – Soft||+0.356||72|
|6||L.Hamilton||McLaren||1:22.430 – Soft||+0.400||115|
|7||V.Petrov||Caterham||1:22.795 – Super Soft||+0.765||101|
|8||M.Schumacher||Mercedes||1:22.939 – Soft||+0.909||100|
|9||P.Maldonado||Williams||1:23.347 – Hard||+1.317||48|
|10||D.Ricciardo||Toro Rosso||1:23.393 – Hard||+1.363||100|
|11||S.Vettel||Red Bull||1:23.608 – Hard||+1.578||23|