Ferrari's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen takes part in the tests for the new Formula One Grand Prix season at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo on the outskirts of Barcelona on March 9, 2018. AFP PHOTO

MONTMELÓ: Kimi Raikkonen said he is eagerly looking forward to the start of the new Formula One season after setting the fastest time in Friday’s final testing session at Montmelo, near Barcelona.

The 2007 world champion brought an end to the eight days of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya with a best lap of 1min 17.221sec, over half a second quicker than McLaren’s Fernando Alonso.

It left the Finn, Alonso and Raikkonen’s Ferrari team-mate, Sebastian Vettel, as the only drivers to dip below 1min 18sec over the course of the fortnight in Spain.

“Overall, I feel we have a good package,” Raikkonen said. “The car gives me a good feeling and, even if there are still a lot of things to improve, it’s reasonably easy to drive.

“However, no one can say where we really are, compared to our rivals. We’ll have a better idea in a couple of weeks in Melbourne and then, in general, after the first few races of the season. I like racing and I can’t wait to start.”


Finnish Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen of Scuderia Ferrari in action during the Formula One pre-season test sessions at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya race track in Montmelo, Spain, 09 March 2018. EPA-EFE

Alonso’s display gave McLaren a welcome boost for a team hit by a series of reliability problems, although the Spaniard did have to endure five hours in the pits on Friday due to a turbo failure.

Lewis Hamilton, the reigning world champion, posted the 11th fastest time as the Briton concentrated his focus on longer stints out on the track ahead of the season-opening Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 25.

Times:

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Ferrari) 1:17.221 (157 laps), Fernando Alonso (ESP/McLaren) 1:17.784 (93), Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/Renault) 1:18.092 (45), Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Red Bull) 1:18.327 (92), Romain Grosjean (FRA/Haas) 1:18.412 (181), Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) 1:18.825 (104), Brendon Hartley (NZL/Toro Rosso) 1:18.849 (156), Esteban Ocon (FRA/Force India) 1:18.967 (163), Charles Leclerc (MON/Sauber) 1:19.118 (75), Sergey Sirotkin (RUS/Williams) 1:19.189 (105), Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1:19.464 (97), Lance Stroll (CAN/Williams) 1:19.954 (27)

--AFP

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