Barcelona F1 test: Kimi Raikkonen tops morning on ultra-softs

Kimi Raikkonen was the star turn in more ways than one in Thursday morning's pre-season Formula 1 test, setting the pace and demonstrating the new cockpit halo

Barcelona F1 test: Kimi Raikkonen tops morning on ultra-softs

Raikkonen caused a stir almost as soon as the pitlane opened when he ventured out an on installation lap with the proposed cockpit protection system from the FIA attached to his Ferrari.

The one lap served as an assessment over visibility, with Ferrari later confirming the Finn said it "was OK".

Following a minor overheating issue due to a sensor cable problem early on that confined him to the garage for a short spell, Raikkonen later emerged quickest, posting the best time seen over the seven days to date.

Ferrari strapped Pirelli's new-for-2016 ultra-soft tyre onto the SF16-H, resulting in Raikkonen setting a time of 1m22.765s around Barcelona's Catalunya circuit.

That beat the previous leading time from team-mate Sebastian Vettel on Tuesday of last week, also on the ultra-softs, by 0.045 seconds.

Earlier, Raikkonen had set the fastest time on the super-soft rubber with a 1m23.009s, edging past the previous mark from Mercedes' Nico Rosberg by 0.013s.

The top three runners in the morning were all on ultra-softs, with Force India's Nico Hulkenberg finishing 0.486s adrift of Raikkonen and 0.131s ahead of Max Verstappen in the Toro Rosso.

Rosberg had to settle for fourth on the timesheet, 1.361s down on Raikkonen, but running solely on medium compound tyres throughout the morning.

Rosberg and Mercedes again led the way in terms of lap count, with the German finishing his stint - before Lewis Hamilton takes over for the afternoon - with 81.

Sauber's Felipe Nasr finished almost two seconds off the pace, with the Brazilian's best time of 1m24.768s posted on mediums.

Fernando Alonso turned to super-softs for a best lap that was only good enough for sixth as the Spaniard lapped 2.105s adrift of Raikkonen.

Red Bull focused on pitstop practice early on before Danill Kvyat was able to conduct more meaningful running, resulting in 62 laps - second to Rosberg - from the Russian, with his quickest lap of 1m25.141s conducted on softs.

The bottom quartet's times all came on medium tyres, spearheaded by Felipe Massa in the Williams, almost 2.7s down on Raikkonen.

Following numerous issues last week and just 79 laps over the two days for Jolyon Palmer, the Briton managed only 26 on his latest outing, finishing 4.4s off the pace.

Romain Grosjean completed 59 laps for Haas as the American team returned to the track after encountering turbo problems since late Tuesday.

The Frenchman, however, ended the session by bringing out the red flags for the one and only time in the morning, and with the car 5.345s behind Raikkonen.

Manor's Pascal Wehrlein brought up the rear, with the young German managing just 19 laps and 5.711s down.

THURSDAY MORNING TIMES:

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m22.785ss 41
2 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m23.251ss 0.466s 49
3 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m23.382ss 0.597s 59
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m24.126ss 1.341s 81
5 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m24.768ss 1.983s 37
6 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m24.870ss 2.085s 57
7 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/TAG Heuer 1m25.141ss 2.356s 62
8 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m25.420ss 2.635s 46
9 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m27.182ss 4.397s 26
10 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m28.110ss 5.325s 59
11 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1m28.476ss 5.691s 19


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