Raikkonen Tops Time Sheets On Final Pre-Test Day In Spain

BARCELONA, Spain- Just over a week ago, Lotus encountered a chassis problem, which left the team going home to Enstone, England, to fix the problem and to hope that the final test at the Circuit de Catalunya on March 1-4 would be a little better.

But with the final test this past week; Lotus never thought that they would dominate like they did.

On the first two days, Romain Grosjean took his car out to the fastest time of the opening two days. And even with Sergio Perez finishing the best on day three with his Sauber, Lotus recovered on the final day of pre-season testing with Kimi Raikkonen at the top of the timesheets. It is ironic that the Finn was the first to have the best time in the opening session at Jerez back in February, only to finish it on the last day with the best time at Barcelona.

Grosjean set the fastest time of 1:23:252 on the opening day on Thursday, and considering the Frenchman did it on soft tires, it was a good effort nonetheless. Grosjean repeated the feat again the next day with a quicker 1: 22:614 despite a delay because of heavy fog. While the day was nearly free of incidents, until Michael Schumacher caused two red flags when he stopped in the middle of the track on turn eight and then beached his Mercedes on turn five in the gravel later in the afternoon.

Perez headed the day with a 1:22:094 on day three to have the best time in the tests so far. But the excitement of the day was the debut of the Red Bull RB8. Although it was visible to many members of the media, the extra upgrades to the car were hidden by huge amounts of members of the pit crew swarming around to hide it, while several photographers took snapshots of the car anyway, revealing the new extra exhaust positioning and a new front wing.

But the last day belonged to Raikkonen. After trying to get used to the new upgrades, which left him finishing tenth on day three, the Finn retaliated by topping the charts with a 1:22:030 just before midday, while completing 121 laps overall.

While Lotus seemed to have it going for them so far, the Ferrari has had to struggle for most of the testing period this winter. But Fernando Alonso’s final day at Barcelona with a 1:22:250, which was the second best time on Sunday, showed that the car needs plenty of data analogy before the first race in Australia in less than two weeks’ time.

While Williams, Force India, and McLaren produced decent enough results, defending champion Red Bull had to fight with their new car. Mark Webber could only get a best eighth place result on day three, while World Champion Sebastian Vettel tested on the final day, to a disappointing 11 th . With these results, Red Bull certainly might have a problem in the opening races this season.

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