Raikkonen leads final day of pre-season testing in Barcelona

2012 F1 testing

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Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Barcelona, 2012

Kimi Raikkonen put Lotus on top for the third time in four days as the final pre-season test drew to a close.

Raikkonen’s lap of 1’22.030, set on soft tyres shortly before the lunch break, was the quickest seen in either of the two tests at the Circuit de Catalunya this year.

The lotus driver was two-tenths of a second quicker than Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari. Alonso used super-softs for his lap.

Bruno Senna was fractionally slower, setting a best time of 1’22.296 on soft tyres. Once again he shared his day’s running in the Williams with team mate Pastor Maldonado.

The times remained close between the leading drivers with the fastest eight covered by nine-tenths of a second. Kamui Kobayashi, fifth-fastest, caused the first of two red flags when his Sauber came to a stop early in the afternoon with an engine problem.

The second was caused by Vitaly Petrov in the Caterham, who set the seventh-fastest time of the day.

World champion Sebastian Vettel was at the bottom of the times as Red Bull continued work on their pre-Melbourne upgrade. The car was frequently obscured by covers and umbrellas at it made its way in and out of the pits during the day’s running.

DriverCarBest timeLapsDifference
1Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault E201’22.030121
2Fernando AlonsoFerrari F20121’22.2501160.220
3Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault FW341’22.296530.266
4Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes VJM051’22.3121010.282
5Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari C311’22.386720.356
6Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes MP4-271’22.4301150.400
7Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault CT011’22.7951010.765
8Michael SchumacherMercedes W031’22.9391000.909
9Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault FW341’23.347481.317
10Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari STR71’23.3931001.363
11Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault RB81’23.608231.578

Image © Lotus F1 Team/LAT

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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41 comments on “Raikkonen leads final day of pre-season testing in Barcelona”

  1. Kimi will be on the podium this year, no doubt.

    1. I also hope, that Lotus can be in top3 this year and pace in testing was real, not like Williams last year, when they looked very fast and turned out to be outsiders.

      1. Given their optimistic statements they should be fighting for the championship with the RedBull.

        1. Yes, and in other news that will never happen this year, I will be the first driver for Ferrari, as a “pay driver” from huge lottery winnings. :-)

      2. well the Lotus has topped the sheets more than any other team. they consistent in times on high and low fuel and seem to take very good care of their tires. i think Melbourne qualy gonna ge VERY INTERESTING and CLOSE. if this pace is real, they have the best shot so far winning a championship

        1. Who knows how Melbourne will pan out? For the first time this year, I feel genuinely excited about the start of the season, now that testing is over and there are no distractions.

          It’s the unpredictability that makes it so exciting, and Lotus are contributing to that. They have been consistently fast, but what do the times really mean?

  2. Yea! :)

  3. So will Red Bull be satisfied with the weekend, or having a bit of doubt? I still wouldn’t bet against Vettel setting the pace come qualifying though.

    Ferrari look troublesome, but it might be good if they qualify well but tend to drop down after that. It would make for a bit of a mixed grid, lets hope it will be mixed for pole as well.

    1. Pat Fry is apparently saying Ferrari won’t even be fighting for the podium at the start of the season. Not sure I buy that, though…

      1. @aka_robin Can you give a link where Pat Fry said that?

        1. I would have, but so far I’ve seen it only on Twitter (from Jon Noble and Patricia Sanchez) – but there’s apparently a full story coming soon on Autosport.

          1. Thanks for the link. Pat Fry on the ‘new’ EBDs:

            I think it’s the obvious direction to go in. We gave it a shot and we didn’t quite get it right and the issues we had we weren’t going to solve at least for the first four races so that’s why we had to back up and change course

            Octopus on the menu anyone?

  4. Wow, sounds like a bad day for RB. This could do them some harm: just one serious testing day with the new stuff…

    1. Yeah true they could really have to do some work in the sim and in FP1 and FP2.

  5. ShaneB457 (@shaneb12345678910)
    4th March 2012, 16:22

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson..

    “Up and down the pit lane all the technical directors seem to agree this will be the closest season for years. It means teams will be punished for any small mistake – you could lose 10 grid places if you get it even slightly wrong. It should be a great year.”

    Lets hope he’s right..the last thing I want to see this season is Vettel dominating again after last years snoozefest..I’m happy to see him do hardly any laps..also Schumacher and Raikkonen for podiums and race wins this year :D

    1. I honestly still want Vettel to win, but a close championship fight like the one in 2010 is exactly what we need. As long as it has great races and a great championship battle, I’m happy.

      And he’s right, this has the potential to be amazing. Then again, having the last 6 champions on the grid should’ve been a dead giveaway…

      1. @pamphlet I’m not bothered who wins but like you I want a close fight regardless!

        I didn’t mind 2011 being dominated by Vettel as the year previous to that went right down to the last race. Two polarising seasons was perfect!

    2. I can hardly contain my excitement just reading this quote! I hope it turns out to be accurate. Nothing in the world can top the drama of a F1 Grand Prix weekend that is a complete toss up! Throw in a bunch of World Champions and we could be in for a truly epic year.

    3. I dont mind a Redbull winning the WDC, but I would much rather it was Webber. F1 doesnt need a triple champion from 3 consecutive years, its not good for its image or the fans interest. I dont think Im alone in thinking that anyone would begrudge Mark getting a WDC (assuming its warrented from a solid season of close-racing).

      I do want a British driver to win ofcourse, and that means Lewis or JB,

    4. @ShaneB457…if in fact the field is very close and any small error could result in a lose of 10 grid places, the only way MS will podium is if he ups his quali game over last year. Last year he got away with it because everyone behind Merc was distant in the WCC fight with it being Renault a distant 5th never able to bother Merc on Sundays. So MS must improve on Saturday’s if he expects much in a potentially much more closely knit pack this year.

  6. It’s refreshing to see Vettel at the bottom of the timesheet for once. :P

  7. Hardbrakingmike
    4th March 2012, 16:34

    I cannot wait for Melbourne!!

  8. I don’t get how Williams were up there last year in testing and had a terrible season.

    1. As I recall the car was designed to run quite low and it was quick but they had trouble with the tub getting damaged so were forced to raise it. Something along those lines anyway

  9. I have my suspicions that Ferrari may be pushed to fourth by Mercedes if Massa isn’t doing well.

    1. I think the Rosberg-Schumacher pairing is stronger than the Alonso-Massa one.

      Trouble is of course that Alonso is better than both Schumacher and Rosberg!

      As far as Constructors go, Mercedes really ought to be taking advantage of Massa not being at the sharp end. I expect that will be the same this year, though I don’t want it to be.

  10. I wonder if Ferrari’s issues and blunders are a little overplayed? Their times havent been too concerning.

    I’d say they’re sandbagging a little bit (yes, que the it’s testing, what’s the pointing sandbagging counterarguement) and just generally playing their cards close to their chest. Perhaps cancelling the press conferences yesterday & today with Massa & Alonso respectively was just a ploy. Maybe Ferrari want to get feedback from them in as much detail while it’s fresh in their minds?

    Lets not forget that Ferrari dont really give much away to the media anyway unless they can help it.

    On a different note, great outing by Lotus today, I would expect them to be the outside bets for the first few races before the teams return to Europe.

    A little disappointing that HRT and Marussia didnt make it to the test today. Yes, it’s their own fault, but a pair of laughing stocks isnt good for the sport. I genuinely feel for Glock, I’m sure his dentist has concerns over him gritting his teeth too much!

    1. I too think there’s something very fishy about Ferrari’s “bad form”. Too much pessimism, it’s so unlikely for the Maranello men.

      1. I just wonder if the pessimism isn’t just coming from the fact that this departure of a car seemingly hasn’t come out of the box as a Red Bull beater. That might have been their ultimate goal, being a departure of a car…to trounce Red Bull, not just progress from last year.

        So while they may be ‘suffering’ from having to go through a more normal process, that being to iron out some kinks with this departure of a car, that to me doesn’t mean they won’t do so…they might well soon be better off than they were last year after a handful of races, and as I say might only be disappointed that this car is taking them on a more normal path to get there rather than the ultimate but rarer best-case scenario of making risky departures and nailing the package out of the box and making a leap in performance. Hence making time, or the lack of it, one of their biggest issues.

        And they might be thinking that if the season is close and Red Bull is still strong, even if they are less strong relative to everyone else, teams cannot afford to start off on their hind foot for fear they might never make up for it, such much be the closeness amongst the top 6 or so teams.

  11. sid_prasher (@)
    4th March 2012, 17:06

    Whats worrying me is that Ferrari’s best time on the fastest compound was still slower than Kimi’s. Of course there is the question of fuel loads, etc but that assumes Kimi was running lighter…

    RBR doing just 23 laps can not be good news either….when all but Sauber did almost 100 laps..

    1. Gary Anderson said that super softs did not work well at Barcelona because of the track’s abrasive surface. So effectively, softs were the quickest compounds at the circuit.

  12. Could have been Kubica in this car….He must be dissapointed.

    1. You could have said the same last year, heck, a lot of people did. However, come the end of last season I doubt Kubica was as bothered ;)

  13. too bad not all races are free to air…this season is going to be a good one!

  14. Lotus have the season sewn up already if you believe Autosport!

  15. Arijit (@arijitmaniac)
    4th March 2012, 18:53

    It appears that Red Bull are gonna be fast again…. But what we need is a fight… We dont mind Red Bull being dominant… But only one driver from red bull is dominant would lead again to the less than spectacular races of last year… Dont mind Sebastien Vettel being the world champion again. But hsi wins must be hard fought where his talent is shown. Else it looks all too easy….

  16. That’s it! Now we will see the cars race next time!

  17. Why do I get the distinct impression that Stefano Domenicali is quaking in his boots already?

    1. I don’t have that impression at all…after all, if they haven’t nailed their car, and if throughout the whole season they can’t improve, which I think is highly unlikely, Ferrari will live to fight another day…it is not like anyone is going to be given a death sentence at Ferrari if they can’t immediately trounce Red Bull. The worst thing that is going to happen is they will have issues to address. Only one team gets to win the WCC and the WDC…all others will be doing the same thing Ferrari has to do…work it…improve it…do their best…understand F1 carries no guarantees, same as life…and they will live to fight another day.

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