Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Raikkonen heads final test as late flier puts Alonso second

2018 F1 season

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Ferrari ended pre-season testing for the 2018 championship on top as Kimi Raikkonen led the way at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Raikkonen’s best effort of 1’17.223 was fractionally slower than team mate Sebastian Vettel managed earlier in the week. However for most of the day that remained the only time under 1’18s.

Esteban Ocon, Force India, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018
Pictures: 2018 pre-season F1 testing day eight
That changed when Fernando Alonso did a late run on hyper-soft tyres. A 1’16.720 for the McLaren briefly flashed up at the top of the timing screens, but was deleted when Alonso was found to have cut the chicane.

Nonetheless his true best lap of 1’17.784 was good enough for a morale-boosting second place at the end of a day which had started badly for the team. Alonso stopped on his seventh lap, bringing out the red flags. A turbo fault related to their oil leak earlier in the test was diagnosed and the car spent several hours in the garage while a new power unit was fitted.

Behind Alonso came the other two Renault-powered cars. Carlos Sainz Jnr’s Renault also completed little running for much of the day but took to the track late on and set the team’s best time of the test. Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull was fourth.

Romain Grosjean was the busiest driver of the day, covering 181 laps in his Haas and ending up a few hundredths off Kevin Magnussen’s best time from yesterday.

It was a very productive day at Mercedes, where Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton amassed over 200 laps between them. Williams also split the running between its two race drivers, having originally scheduled Robert Kubica to run before a change of plans.

Charles Leclerc also did Sauber’s best lap time of the test and racked up 75 laps, but was left red-faced by a minor crash early in the session which brought out the red flags. “Pushed too much, spun and touched the wall a little bit,” he revealed on social media. “Stupid to do that at this time of the day, I will learn from it.”

Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLapsTyres
17Kimi RaikkonenFerrariSF71H1’17.221157Hyper-soft
214Fernando AlonsoMcLarenMCL331’17.7840.56393Hyper-soft
355Carlos Sainz JnrRenaultRS181’18.0920.87145Hyper-soft
43Daniel RicciardoRed BullRB141’18.3271.10692Super-soft
58Romain GrosjeanHaasVF-181’18.4121.191181Ultra-soft
677Valtteri BottasMercedesW091’18.8251.604104Medium
728Brendon HartleyToro RossoSTR131’18.9491.728156Hyper-soft
831Esteban OconForce IndiaVJM111’18.9671.746163Hyper-soft
916Charles LeclercSauberC371’19.1181.89775Hyper-soft
1035Sergey SirotkinWilliamsFW411’19.1891.968105Soft
1144Lewis HamiltonMercedesW091’19.4642.24397Super-soft
1218Lance StrollWilliamsFW411’19.9542.73327Soft

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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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  • 37 comments on “Raikkonen heads final test as late flier puts Alonso second”

    1. Looks like McLaren had a decent running today without too many major hiccups.

      1. If you followed it live, it looked like McLaren were doomed to fight Sauber all season, if they could finish any races. But then the last half hour happened :)

        1. Williams will be fighting for the last positions with Haas, Sauber, and Renault.

          1. I expect the Renault to get on the podium this year.

        2. @krommenaas I don’t think it was all that impressive really – for example, tyre-corrected it’s slower than the Haas. Obviously it’s only testing but I’d be surprised if they were any higher than the fringes of the top 10.

          1. @tflb, on the other hand, based on the times that we were seeing on Thursday, applying a similar correction to the compound type would imply that Haas were faster than Ferrari – now, I suspect that many here would be doubtful that Haas have suddenly usurped teams like Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull to suddenly become title contenders in 2018. It underlines the fact that, whilst the longer runs can be more useful, the headline times are often not an especially reliable indication of the relative pace of the teams, even if people do try to allow for tyre differences (about which there seems to be quite a bit of debate about how much, or how little, of an impact the different compounds have).

            1. That’s kind of what I said, testing is testing and not an indicator of much. Which is why I find it funny people are suddenly claiming all is rosy for Mclaren based on one lap!

        3. @krommenaas

          I would have to agree with @tflb . It really wasn’t that impressive a time. The difference in lap times between the Super soft and the Hypersoft is around 1 to 1.2 seconds a lap. Which means that Red Bull could have done a lap in the 1:16.9 to 1:17.0 range. Haas also could have had a lap time in the low 1:17s based on their best time on supersofts. Mercedes, I reckon, would have been able to put in a lap in the 1:16s as well on hypersofts.

          I’m glad that McLaren aren’t in the dire situation of the past 3 seasons, where even on the supersofts they were failing to match Mercedes’ medium tyre pace, but then again, so far their pace doesn’t suggest that they will even dominate the midfield.

          It’s only pre season testing, so tit’s hard to be a 100% certain, but I really don’t think that McLaren has proved anything with that lap.

    2. That glory run from Alonso makes me so happy! Somewhat a relief even though no conclusion should be drawn and there’s still reliability issues. Still, looking better than a few hours ago when I already settled for a depressive 2018 campaign for my two preferred drivers!

      1. @spoutnik I think there is every reason to be optimistic toward Mac for 2018. FA would have loved over the last 3 seasons to need an engine change in the morning, the team perform that, and then to go out and get 80+laps done in an afternoon. As you know it is fortunate for them that they have had these issues now and will have learned from them. Not saying they won’t have more of course, as all teams will, but I think they will be fine. I don’t think anyone is expecting them to be Merc or Ferrari beaters this season, and I think they will have a far far better time of it this season with respectable performances more fitting with their usual historical standing amongst the teams, as one of the well resourced ones. And they have Alonso. Onward and upward for them now as this new chapter for them starts and they shed the last terrible 3 years that nobody whosoever wanted, expected, nor predicted.

        1. @robbie quite true! And realistically if they got a few podiums I’d be happy already! The nightmare could be over.

        2. … and I think they had to break into the 17’s as maybe the top teams can go in the 16’s if they push hard. Being within the second of the pole time could already be a huge step forward.

          1. I saw reports Alonso had a lap around 1.16.7 but that lap wasnt recorded as he cut a chicane….but then Kimi says they could have went faster

        3. David mcgrory
          10th March 2018, 2:34

          I can’t see Alonso getting many podiums considering the drivers ahead max Lewis seb and dan would need to have a bad day and the odds of them all being off form is unrealistic

    3. I was never too worried about unreliability issues because they were all minor. But I was very concerned about lack of performance, because that, I believe, is much more difficult to find over a season. I am still skeptical about McLaren being 0.5 behind Ferrari though, does anyone know what kind of run Raikkonen or Vettel were in when they set their fastest times? It was pretty clear that Fernando was out with low fuel on a short run.

      1. I think there is a good chance FA just wanted to uplift the team after some struggles, so that they have something more positive to dwell on until Australia. Nobody is expecting them to win the WDC this year nor the WCC, so we just have to sit back and enjoy this work in progress, knowing that they simply had no choice but to dump Honda and move on, which is the process that has now just begun. I predict they’ll only get stronger and stronger over the season.

        1. As bad as the last few years have been, I cannot think of a single year where McLaren didn’t end the year stronger. Even in the Honda years.

          1. @ajpennypacker i do believe 2014 would be a candidate

            1. @mrboerns Oh.. 2014 I’ve tried to erase that from my memory. Such awful looking cars. Still, however, I’d argue that they finished stronger in that year. It’s true they started with a podium, but that was mostly a fluke. The following races were dreadful, going 3 consecutive races without points. But towards the end of the year they were regularly fighting for 4th and 5th places. Well at least Jenson was :)

    4. Remember, McLaren has to bet Red Bull to get on the podium, with the same engine. But Red Bull has a few more seasons running at the front, so learnt things McLaren has to relearn.

      1. They have to beat Renault also.

        1. And Toro Rosso ;)

      2. David mcgrory
        10th March 2018, 2:35

        They won’t beat red bull and Alonso isn’t a better driver than they 2

    5. Williams is in a good spot maybe, Sirotkins time was almost as fast as Sauber/FI/ToroRosso but in a 2 tiers slower soft tire.

      Mclaren at some point will be ahead of the midfield alongside Renault, but it’s unlikely they will beat Red Bull at the end.

      It will be a very good fight between Haas/FI/ToroRosso/Sauber/Williams. I don’t see this year having a constant backmarker.

      1. Williams looks to have tire issues. Sirotkin had runs with softer compounds but couldnt make them work and looked unhappy afterwards.

    6. I’m not so optimistic. That lap on hyper-softs and on fumes, was just another of those typical Alonso’s PR stunts.

      The car has serious issues and is not reliable. Also, the Renault engine doesn’t quite match the chassis as it should and I think it’s going to be another disappointing season for McL. And if a Honda powered Toro Rosso happens to beat them (quite possible), it’s not going to be pretty at the Woking camp.

      PS: Alonso is cursed. ;)

      1. I’m not sure how possible it is that STR might beat Mac this season, and frankly I’d be surprised, but I’m quite sure that Mac won’t regret the decision they had to make months ago to dump Honda, for they had little choice and simply couldn’t risk a fourth year of embarrassment.

        That the car has ‘serious’ issues remains to be seen. So far the teething problems they’ve had in this new relationship have been solved at the track and they’ve gotten back out and put laps in, and will have learned. That’s how it works always, with all teams.

        They don’t have a crystal ball to have known back when they had to decide, which was in time to prepare with a new engine maker for this year, so failing the ability to read the future, I’m sure they’ve been fine with their decision to switch to Renault, and will remain so, even if by some miracle Honda has found their way. Honda was still nowhere when McLaren had to decide. They may yet prove to still be nowhere in terms of combining both real performance and reliability at the same time. They’ve shown reliability these testing days, but have they shown performance at the same time? Someone has said that they have swapped engines frequently while in Spain these last two weeks.

      2. Well we have no idea what is going to happen with a Honda engine when the ambient temperature gets to 30+ degrees. Remember the most problems they had last year was with heat management.

    7. This is the best headline of the year.

      1. If I recall last year in testing, Mercedes spent endless laps on the Med tyre. When the racing really got going, they blew everyone away on that tyre because they understood it better.
        Similar this year, they haven’t even mounted the HS and most of their running seemed to be on the Meds.
        Is it for any other reason that bravado that teams are running on tyres that won’t be back until June (CDN GP) ?
        15 days and we will start to see the truth. As Maj. Tom said …. countdown is ON.

    8. That 1.18 on mediums… 4 steps on tyres.

      1. Based on delta time between tires I think Mercedes can easily go on low 1:15 or below that on hypersoft tires and in quali mode

    9. Lets not read much into the testing times.

      But the general consensus is that McLaren is quite a bit back from Red Bull. This nullifies the oft-repeated argument by McLaren and Alonso and their fans over the last 3 years of them having the best chassis but are being held back by the engine.

      Mark Hughes is in fact considering them as the weakest of the Renault engine teams once again proving that McLaren have been deflecting their own deficiencies to Honda for the last 3 years.

      I predict one of Neale, Boullier, Brown to be gone by mid-season, Alonso to be gone by end of the season. Next year, we would then have a rejuvenated new McLaren team not scared of accepting its own faults (or they could even go the Ferrari way of minimal media interactions / complete media blackout) along with a car that is solidly fast with lot of potential.

      1. You seem to conveniently forget that the Mclaren car is basically last year’s car but with all the steps they have to create in order to fit the Renault engine. They have said it again and again that the car aerodinamically wise is the same as last year and that they have been working in an almost brand new car aerodinámically wise for the first race. Also according to verstappen, Mercedes have problems putting heat to their front tires and to make matters worse, he said that they have overheating problems in the rear tires. He said that Ferrari and red bull and Mercedes if they fix their problems will be championship contenders and that to him, neither Mclaren or renuLt will be any threat for them .

        1. Mclaren have been working in a whole new different car aerodynamically speaking in the last 4 months!!

    Comments are closed.