Kimi Raikkonen ended the eighth and final day of Formula 1 preseason testing fastest of all, with the second best time around Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya only beaten by his Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel who was quickest a day earlier in the SF71-H.
Raikkonen’s best time of 1:17.221 was a half-second quicker than the next best and over a second up on the best Mercedes on the day.
McLaren suffered another engine related failure that cost them the entire morning in the garage as the team changed the Renault power unit. But once released, shortly after 14:00 local time, the Spaniard was on a mission.
At the end of the afternoon, he was second quickest and had managed to rack up 93 laps by the time the chequered flag waved at 18:00, not ideal in terms of reliability but at least they seem to have handy raw pace in the MCL33.
Fellow Spaniard Carlos Sainz spent the morning on the sidelines as his crew worked on the RS18, the team explained on Twitter:
After a longer than hoped for (#understatement) degremlinisation @Carlossainz55 returns to the @Circuitcat_eng track #RSspirit #F1Testing pic.twitter.com/XM2zAWxc1z
— Renault Sport F1 (@RenaultSportF1) March 9, 2018
When Sainz did eventually venure out on track it was also pedal to the metal as he popped up in third. He completed 45 laps in total which was well down on all the other teams.
Nico Hulkenberg, who was scheduled for the afternoon stint, did not get a final run in the car before he sees it again in Melbourne.
The top three times on the day were set using the Pirelli ultrasoft compound tyres.
The other Renault powered car was next up in fourth with Daniel Ricciardo at the wheel of the Red BUll RB14. The Aussie set his times on supersofts and completed 92 laps.
Romain Grosjean did more laps than any other driver, completing 187 tours of the Spanish Grand Prix venue and setting the fifth best time using the ultrasofts.
Mercedes were clearly not chasing top lap times, but instead focussed on race simulation and long runs with Valtteri Bottas on duty in the morning. The Finn racked up a whopping 104 laps during his shift, ending sixth fastest on the medium tyres.
Lewis Hamilton took over the cockpit in the afternoon and he too toiled away on the long stuff and adding 97 laps to the Mercedes databank.
A remarkable amount of mileage at jaw-dropping race pace, but again the new tarmac is deceiving when comparing to last year.
Brendon Hartley was seventh for Toro Rosso ahead of Force India’s Esteban Ocon, while Charles Leclerc recovered from a morning spin to take ninth place.
Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin completed the top 10 ahead of last-placed team-mate Lance Stroll.