Jerez test: Kimi Raikkonen sets fastest time of the week as McLaren hit more woes
Fuel pump issue forces McLaren to end day early; Mercedes complete over 100 laps again; Red Bull suffer ERS problems
By William Esler
Last Updated: 05/02/15 6:47am
Ferrari signed off in style as Kimi Raikkonen finished the Jerez pre-season test as the fastest driver - but it was another difficult day for McLaren-Honda, who finished early once again.
Having seen new team-mate Sebastian Vettel top the opening two days at the Spanish venue, Raikkonen switched to the soft tyres and bettered the German’s Day Two time by a tenth of a second, meaning a Ferrari-powered car topped all four days of running. However, Vettel set his time on the medium tyres, which are around half a second slower than the softs.
Asked to assess his first two days in the car, a contented Raikkonen said: “No problems really. We got through a lot of laps and obviously the weather yesterday and today has been a bit tricky, so not ideal, but we performed pretty okay for the first test. So not a bad start.
"Compared to last year, it’s definitely much better but obviously we still have a lot to work on and improve. We have something we can work with, so we can be happy about that.”
After managing just six laps on Tuesday, Jenson Button completed 35 laps for McLaren, taking the team's total to 79 for the week – around 350km. The day started badly for the Woking squad when the car came to a halt metres after leaving the garage and had to be pushed back behind the screens. Their day eventually came to an early end with a fuel pump issue.
When compared to Mercedes' total of over 2000km in Jerez, it is clear McLaren need to get plenty of mileage at the next test in Barcelona to iron out the gremlins which affected the other teams at the start of 2014.
Nevertheless, racing director Eric Boullier thinks good progress has been made, even if they only completed half of their planned programme.
“I think at least 50 per cent – we haven’t done a lot of laps, but progressionally [sic] we have gone through processes and the experience we gain here is massive,” the Frenchman told Sky Sports News HQ.
“The first short-term target is the Barcelona test and to make sure we cover more laps and can unlock more details towards developing the car. After that we will put ourselves in a position to hopefully be competitive in Melbourne.”
Red Bull were also forced to spend time on the sidelines after Daniil Kvyat suffered an ERS problem which brought the car to a halt on track having completed just eight laps. The Russian did get back on track in the afternoon, though, and completed 64 laps.
Despite clocking up over 100 laps once again, Mercedes' day wasn’t without drama as a spin from Lewis Hamilton at the chicane brought out a red flag as his W06 was recovered by the marshals. The world champion said he had been caught out by a damp patch and finished the day third quickest with a new personal best time of 1:22.172, two tenths slower than Nico Rosberg’s best time from Tuesday.
“The car feels very similar to last year and it is difficult to pick up any differences,” said Hamilton afterwards. "The reliability has been pretty special this week."
Sauber finished the day second quickest once more to complete a strong week of running for the Swiss team – although they did bring the session to an early end after performing a fuel system check and stopping on track having run out of fuel as a result.
Max Verstappen got more much-needed experience at the wheel of the STR10 as the youngest driver in F1 history completed 97 laps without any major dramas. Questions were raised over Toro Rosso's inexperienced line-up, but both Verstappen and Carlos Sainz will have impressed with their opening displays.
Day four timesheet
1. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:20.841, 106 laps
2. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:22.019, 112 laps
3. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:22.172, 117 laps
4. Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, 1:22.553, 97 laps
5. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:23.116, 73 laps
6. Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 1:23.802, 53 laps
7. Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, 1:23.975, 64 laps
8. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:27.660, 35 laps
The Sky Sports F1 Online team will be providing live commentary from all four days of both Barcelona tests. Sky Sports News HQ will also have live updates from trackside.