Raikkonen fastest as Mercedes pile on miles

Ferrari's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen puts on a jacket as he leaves the motorhome at ...
Ferrari's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen puts on a jacket as he leaves the motorhome at the Circuit de Catalunya on February 28, 2017 in Montmelo on the outskirts of Barcelona during the second day of the first week of tests for the Formula One Grand Prix season. PHOTO/JOSE JORDAN / AFP


Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen showed promising signs for Ferrari’s 2017 Formula One season by outpacing Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in Tuesday’s second day of pre-season testing in Barcelona.

Radical rules changes for the new season mean F1 cars are wider and more powerful than their predecessors.

And that showed when Raikkonen posted a best time of 1min 20.960sec for a lap at the Circuit de Catalunya circuit since 2013.

Even more encouragingly for Ferrari, Raikkonen’s time came on a slower soft tyre compound to the supersofts Hamilton used in posting his best effort of 1min 20.983sec.

Hamilton handed over the reins of the Mercedes W08 to new teammate Valtteri Bottas for the afternoon session.

The Finn didn’t trouble the top of the timesheets with only the seventh fastest lap, but did log an impressive 102 laps in just a few hours.

Bottas even shrugged off a minor spin to complete a full race simulation.

That sort of reliability is something the beleaguered McLaren-Honda team can only dream of as they suffered another day dogged by reliability problems.

Belgian rookie Stoffel Vandoorne managed just 40 laps to add to the limited 29 former world champion Fernando Alonso completed on Monday.

Vandoorne also had to have the power unit completely replaced on his MCL32.

Only Williams suffered a more disappointing day as Canadian Lance Stroll registered just 12 laps before a spin into the gravel brought a premature end to his day before lunch.

Dutch wonder kid Max Verstappen had a quietly effective day for Red Bull with the third fastest time and 89 laps, albeit well over a second behind Raikkonen and Hamilton.

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