Raikkonen Finishes Jerez Test On Top


JEREZ, Spain – Kimi Raikkonen set the pace on the final day of the opening Formula One pre-season test of 2013 in Spain.

The Finn’s best lap came on a short run on soft tyres in the afternoon and ensured that Lotus leave Jerez having posted the fastest time on two of the four days of running. Romain Grosjean was quickest on Wednesday in the team’s promising new E21 machine.

The second-quickest time – on a day when running was extended by 30 minutes because of a stoppage for track repairs – was set in the morning by Jules Bianchi for Force India. The Frenchman, who is believed to be under consideration for the vacant second seat at the team, was pleased with his first run in the VJM06.

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel posted the third-quickest time, although the Red Bull driver spent much of the day putting the RB9 through long runs on medium and hard-compound tyres.

The two busiest drivers on day four were Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez – who did 142 laps and registered the fourth-quickest time – and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton who circulated 145 times. After completing only 15 laps in his first run in the car on Wednesday, Hamilton was far happier after ending the day in sixth.

Sergio Perez – also enjoying his second test day of the year – completed 98 laps in McLaren’s MP4-28, conducting a variety of aero and mechanical work.

Just below Perez on the timesheets was Williams’ Valtteri Bottas and Pedro de la Rosa, the latter marking his first day of testing for Ferrari. The day began badly for the Spaniard as the Scuderia’s F138 came to a smoky halt just three laps into the morning session with a gearbox problem. Ferrari recovered the car quickly and de la Rosa went on to complete 51 valuable laps.

Charles Pic was the third driver to top the 100-lap mark, in Caterham’s new CT03.