Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Bottas sets new benchmark as Raikkonen crashes

2017 F1 season

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Valtteri Bottas posted the fastest time in testing so far for Mercedes while Ferrari’s running was curtailed by a crash for Kimi Raikkonen.

Bottas’s 1’19.310 was four tenths faster than his own benchmark set last week. Felipe Massa was second fastest for Williams, just a tenth off the Mercedes pace.

The Circuit de Catalunya was a touch cooler than on the opening day of the second test as the track went green to begin day six.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017
Testing day six in pictures
Mercedes wasted no time in getting down to business, sending Valtteri Bottas out immediately on a brief stint on ultra soft tyres. The Finn clocked four laps around the 1’21 range before pitting.

In his first outing of the week, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was quick to get on the pace, posting a 1’20.432 on Soft tyres – the Dutchman’s fastest time over the two tests to date.

Following their engine change on Tuesday’s session, McLaren were taking a steady approach to their day’s running with Fernando Alonso, who only recorded his first truly representative laptime over two hours into the session.

Just before midday, Mercedes decided to turn the pace up and sent Bottas out in the W08 on super soft tyres. The resulting 1’19.310 was not only the quickest time of the day, but also the fastest lap set by any driver over the six days of testing so far.

After a marathon stint in the car yesterday, Felipe Massa was back in the Williams in the morning session and showed good pace once more, using the ultra soft tyres to get within just over a tenth of Bottas’s benchmark and 63 more laps on the board.

At Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen’s start to the day was frustrated by a two hour delay following what the team described as a ‘fluid systems check’. Once the car was going, however, Raikkonen clocked his personal benchmark in testing of a 1’20.406 – good enough for the third-fastest time.

During the lunch break, Red Bull made an unscheduled engine change in Max Verstappen’s RB13, meaning there was an extended delay to the team resuming its programme in the afternoon.

As track action resumed after lunch, there was surprisingly little in the way of running. Lance Stroll got behind the wheel of the Williams for the first time this week as he looked to build up his confidence and consistency following a number of incidents in the previous week’s running.

The Canadian rookie was able to gradually build up speed on Soft tyres, producing his personal best time of testing so far of a 1’20.579 and, more critically, not making any major mistakes.

After their earlier delay, Ferrari’s day was cut unexpectedly shorter when Kimi Raikkonen lost control of the SF70H in Turn Three and made contact with the outside barrier. Despite it only being a minor collision, it was enough to end Ferrari’s running after 53 laps.

More delays afflicted Jolyon Palmer, who finally took to track with only 90 minutes of the session remaining. The Brit was able to cover laps and ended the day bottom of the time sheets.

Marcus Ericsson took over the Sauber from Pascal Wehrlein in the afternoon, recording 44 laps and a best time that was two seconds adrift of his previous best.

Romain Grosjean completed an undramatic day’s running in the Haas, adding 93 laps to the team’s total. Sergio Perez also covered 97 laps for Force India.

Despite their engine change, Red Bull were able to cover the most mileage of anyone in the day with Verstappen completing exactly 100 laps. The Red Bull then pulled off the circuit at Turn 12, bringing out the second red flag stoppage. The session was extended by a few more minutes but a third red flag triggered by Marcus Ericsson finally brought proceedings to a close.

Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLaps
177Valtteri BottasMercedesW081’19.31070
219Felipe MassaWilliamsFW401’19.4200.11063
37Kimi RaikkonenFerrariSF70H1’20.4061.09653
433Max VerstappenRed BullRB131’20.4321.122102
518Lance StrollWilliamsFW401’20.5791.26959
644Lewis HamiltonMercedesW081’20.7021.39279
727Nico HulkenbergRenaultRS171’21.2131.90361
811Sergio PerezForce IndiaVJM101’21.2971.987100
955Carlos Sainz JnrToro RossoSTR121’21.8722.56292
108Romain GrosjeanHaasVF-171’21.8872.57796
1194Pascal WerhleinSauberC361’23.0003.69059
1214Fernando AlonsoMcLarenMCL321’23.0413.73146
139Marcus EricssonSauberC361’23.3844.07446
1430Jolyon PalmerRenaultRS171’24.7745.46429

2017 F1 season

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 40 comments on “Bottas sets new benchmark as Raikkonen crashes”

    1. Keith, a good idea might be to include what tyre was used on the lap recorded in the table above.

        1. Keith, I don’t mean anything but last year, when Ferrari was often on top of the time sheets using Ultra-softs and Super-softs and Mercedes was running only on Mediums, you made sure to point that out in your reports, and put the tyre compounds next to the lap times in the time sheets.

          All the articles for last year’s pre-season testing can be found here:

          And I can’t help but notice the way you put article headlines also:

          “Vettel fastest but Hamilton goes furthest by far” – Day 1
          “Vettel stays on top as Rosberg covers huge distance” – Day 2
          “Raikkonen fastest but Mercedes take 1,000km lead” – Day 4
          “Rosberg fastest as Mercedes show their hand” – Day 5

          Contrast the headlines of Day 1,2,4 to Day 5, and to yesterday’s article, found here: Ferrari did 168 laps and set an arguably competitive time on a slower tyre compound, but there was absolutely no mention of them in the article, not even once aside from the data on the time sheet.

          There are accusations here on this site that you are pro-Mercedes, pro-Hamilton, or anti-Ferrari, and I’m not saying that you are any of those. But looking at this it’s hard not to ask questions about the neutrality of this site.

          1. My apologies you did slightly mention that Vettel did more than 160 laps in yesterday’s article. But I’m sure anyone looking at last year’s articles can see the difference when Mercedes covers the most of the track, and when Ferrari does the same thing.

          2. @ducpham2708
            I’m a Ferrari fan, and if Keith has some anti-Ferrari bias, I’ve not noticed it, and have found his reporting of them to be fair and accurate over the years.
            I’ve also been coming here long enough to have seen him accused of favouring at least three different teams, and of being both pro and anti Schumacher, Alonso, Vettel, and Hamilton at different times.

            In most cases, people are just projecting their own bias, or reading far too much into a simple headline or comment, although there was once a rather impressive rant about an article demonstrating his constant bias posted under a guest article that was written by someone else.

          3. Michael Brown (@)
            8th March 2017, 20:07

            Is it not worth mentioning in the title that while Ferrari were fastest Mercedes went farthest. Sounds like reporting to me.

          4. Keith is a Red Bull fan and he is fighting with every emotion of his not to show it. You don’t have to admit it, but damn sure you know that Keith.

          5. Oh dear

    2. Williams are looking good.

      1. Still early days and not sure about the fuel load compared to the other cars around, but there’s no denying of the fact that the Williams looks competitive, if not impressive. The stage looks good for Felipe baby to prove that he still has it in him to deliver if the package is right.

      2. Rob Smedley today admitted the fast times were low fuel runs. I bet they’re still at least half a second off.

      3. @sandyclaws
        More like looking for sponsors

      4. Whenever i see a comment like that, i keep thinking that Bottas is going to be the benchmark for the team.

    3. Bottas will dominate Hamilton and send him into retirement.

      1. Said no one with a basic understanding of F1 ever.

        1. @scribe Don’t feed the troll.

      2. In your wet dreams.

    4. Looks like the cars are more like the old ones of the ages of massa and raikkonen, as currently all of the old drivers are doing pretty well.

      1. Raikkonen crashed tho.

        1. He certainly knew what he was doing!

    5. pastaman (@)
      8th March 2017, 17:43

      Good to see Toro Rosso putting in a good number of laps today

    6. Impressive lap tally by McLaren.

      1. Double digits, I know!

    7. Would be utterly spectacular if Williams somehow came up with a car that would deliver the WDC to Massa :-)

      1. I’d also like to be declared God Emperor of Scandanavia but that ain’t happening.

        1. @scribe Bet you would said the same in 09 if i said that Brawn would be WC and Red Bull would become the dominant force in F1. Anything can happen if someone does something right. Williams could steel a march.

          1. Well, actually, there are three massive differences between that situation and now.

            Firstly, we have a good idea of William’s current capabilities as not much has changed between now and their revival at the beginning of the Hybrid era. There is no evidence to suggest they are about to take a massive leap as there are no advantages inherent in their situation they did not have last year.

            Brawn had itself three very significant advantages, the first is that the BGP-01 was at the time the most expensive car ever developed, Honda abandoned their previous challenger in favour of it and it was in development from almost the moment the 09 rule change was introduced. The second is that the 09 rule change was truly a revolutionary change, Aerodynamic ideas were reset at zero, it could be seen in the simple surfaces of every car on the grid compared to the previous year. Lastly they had Brawn and his intimaite knowledge of the rules and the massive great loop-hole contained within. There is no loophole that big in this years regs or we’d be hearing about it by now.

            Finally, Redbull. Redbull had the worlds best aerodynamicst in this field and the aforementioned total reset in aero regulations. It took four years of constant rule changes to restrain his creativity and Redbull more than obviously had the money. Bendy wings, rake cars, exhaust blown diffusers and more besides.

            So Williams don’t have the genius aero guy, the money, or the insider knowledge. Like I said, I ain’t becoming God Emperor of Scandinavia.

            1. So Williams don’t have the genius aero guy, the money, or the insider knowledge. Like I said, I ain’t becoming God Emperor of Scandinavia.

              What Williams have had recently is a design that produced reasonable high-speed downforce and very low drag. It has been exceptional at certain circuits where this is the best strategy (Austria, Silverstone). But it has resisted nearly all efforts to add more downforce for lower speed corners; such changes have usually just slowed it down overall.

              This year, however, the wings have grown and so has the diffuser. Innate downforce has increased by about 30% and corners are being taken up to 20% faster. Drag has also increased. Teams are talking about taking down-force off to reduce drag at over half the circuits (not just at Monza and Spa). All this, along with the most powerful and efficient engine, plays right into Williams’ low-drag hands.

              I’d suggest you start looking at some sceptre catalogues, @scribe. Find something good to reflect the midnight sun.

        2. Where’s Scandinavia ?

          1. At the centre of the world:-)

        3. @scribe Emperors derive their power from the divine. So you would derive your power from yourself? Surely that would make you God or Emperor, but not both?


            Ahemhem, errr, so, exciting season coming up eh?

    8. is force india slow or they are just not showing their hand, or are they more interested in data. because they said this is their beast car till date.

    9. So from the looks of things, Mercedes might still be the team to beat but I don’t think they’ll have the kind of margin they’ve had for the last 3 years. I’m sure Ferrari are hiding something as they haven’t used the Ultra or Super-softs, wonder if they’ll use them for the last two days. Red Bull have been kinda quiet, McLaren being McLaren for the last few years, Williams is doing well, and I think Massa is due for a bit of a resurgence this year.

      Roll on Melbourne!

    10. I’m sure the RedBull is looking too clean – it will be upgraded come Melbourne, and probably more competitive than the Ferrari. But Merc&Lewis will still be the benchmark, I think.

    11. Probably the most interesting stint that seems to have gone unnoticed, was that of Lewis Hamilton.

      He did a 20 lap stint on the ultra soft tires and only lost a second total from start to finish.

    12. @keithcollantine
      Please do provide some more details about the progress of the midfield and backmarker teams. I see one liners for Renault, Sauber and a shared one-liner for Haas and Force India.

    13. MG421982 (@)
      9th March 2017, 6:44

      Tyres used for the best lap of the day, in order:

      BOT / Mercedes = SuperSoft
      MAS / Williams = UltraSoft
      RAI / Ferrari = Soft
      VES / RBR = Soft
      STR / Williams = SuperSoft
      HAM / Mercedes = Soft
      HUL / Renault = SuperSoft
      PER / Force India = SuperSoft
      SAI / Toro Rosso = Soft
      GRO / HAAS = UltraSoft
      WEH / Sauber = Soft
      ALO / McLaren = Soft
      ERI / Sauber = Soft
      PAL / Renault = SuperSoft

    Comments are closed.