• Jerez Test, Day Four

Raikkonen tops times on final day

ESPN Staff
February 8, 2013

Kimi Raikkonen finished the final day of the Jerez test at the top of the timesheets, just edging out Force India's test driver and candidate for a 2013 race seat, Jules Bianchi.

Raikkonen clocked a 1:18.148, just over two tenths shy of Felipe Massa's fastest time from Thursday, on soft tyres in the afternoon when the track temperature was near its peak. His time was just 0.027s faster than Bianchi who spent most of the morning and early afternoon in the Force India before handing over to Paul di Resta for final two hours of the day.

All the teams lost some running time when damage to the exit kerb at turn nine brought out red flags. Four days of F1 testing had taken its toll on the concrete beyond the rumble strip and a large chunk of it had been ripped up. The circuit officials took a three-stage approach to fixing the problem; step one involved a dust pan and brush to remove the broken pieces of kerb and was largely successful, step two saw an attempt to fill the hole with some rubber kerbing (that looked as though it had endured a previous life as a speed bump) and was quickly ditched, before sense finally prevailed and some quick-drying concrete was applied and smoothed over. The (w)hole ordeal lasted roughly an hour and the organisers added an extra 30 minutes to the end of the session to keep the teams and fans happy.

The extra time was a blessing for Ferrari which had lost all of its morning running when the F138 came to smoky halt. Test driver Pedro de la Rosa had completed just two laps as he aimed to learn as much information as possible to take back to the team's simulator in Maranello and had to wait until the afternoon to get back on track. He managed complete 51 laps by the end of the day with a best time of 1:20.316.

Perhaps the most impressive lap of the day was Sebastian Vettel's 1:18.565 set in the morning. Although it was over 0.6s slower than Felipe Massa's headline time from Thursday, Vettel's lap was set on hard tyres. With the difference between compounds said to be roughly 0.5s per step, it was proof that there is still plenty of pace left in the Red Bull.

Esteban Gutierrez's best effort was just 0.091s off the pace of Vettel, but the Mexican had soft tyres on the Sauber when he set it. Although more significant and arguably more impressive were the 142 laps he spent in the cockpit in just his second day in the cockpit as an official race driver. He stopped once on track and brought out the red flags, but Sauber were quick to explain that it was a scheduled fuel test in which the car was run dry on purpose.

Jean-Eric Vergne was fifth fastest after another reasonable day for Toro Rosso. The car showed respectable pace with a best lap of 1:18.760 and is due several updates at the nest two tests, which the team are optimistic about.

Lewis Hamilton set about making up for lost time after his accident on Wednesday and clocked a marathon 145 laps by the end of the day. Mercedes will be pleased to add that to the 148 laps Nico Rosberg completed on Thursday, bringing its total for the week up to a respectable level. Hamilton spoke to the media after stopping for lunch and said he felt like Mercedes "have a good platform and a good foundation to work on".

Sergio Perez finished his second day in the McLaren seventh fastest after racking up 98 laps in total. He appeared to have a problem-free day and was just 0.796s off the pace of Raikkonen's best, proving just how tightly packed the top seven times were. Valtteri Bottas was eighth fastest in last year's Williams ahead of de la Rosa's best effort in the Ferrari.

Charles Pic completed an impressive 109 laps in the Caterham after suffering technical issues on Thursday and finished 0.121s ahead of Luiz Razia in the Marussia. Di Resta rounded off the timesheets with a 1:23.435 as he spent his afternoon focusing on heavier fuel after taking over the Force India from Bianchi.

Final day four times:

1. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus), 1:18.148, 83 laps
2. Jules Bianchi (Force India), 1:18.175, 56 laps
3. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), 1:18.565, 96 laps
4. Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber), 1:18.669, 142 laps
5. Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso), 1:18.760, 92 laps
6. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 1:18.905, 145 laps
7. Sergio Perez (McLaren), 1:18.944, 98 laps
8. Valtteri Bottas (Williams), 1:19.851, 92 laps
9. Pedro de la Rosa (Ferrari), 1:20.316, 51 laps
10. Charles Pic (Caterham), 1:21.105, 109 laps
11. Luiz Razia (Marussia), 1:21.226, 82 laps
12. Paul di Resta (Force India), 1:23.435, 49 laps