Raikkonen fastest on final day of F-1 pre-season testing
Lotus F1's Kimi Raikkonen ended the final day of pre-season testing for the 2012 Formula One season the way started the first one nearly a month ago; on the top of the time sheets.
The 2007 world champion clocked a lap of 1min22.030sec and completed 121 laps of the 4.655 km Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona to clock in excess of 563 kms worth of track time. Next up was the Ferrari of former double world champion Fernando Alonso who managed 115 laps with a best time of 1min22.250sec.
The Spaniard was followed by the Williams of Bruno Senna, the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg and the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi. Defending world champion Sebastian Vettel suffered front wing damage on his Red Bull RB8 as well as gearbox trouble that limited him to just 23 laps worth of track time. Vettel posted the slowest time of all the 11 drivers who were present with a 1min23.608sec lap.
Due to the high-speed nature of the circuit that also features rapid changes in direction and heavy loads on the tyres, many teams were busy testing their car's pace on Pirelli's new soft tyres by running around ten laps or more with a heavy fuel load. Mercedes drew a lot of attention during these 'long runs' as former seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher had admitted to reporters that tyre degradation was a problem that the team's W03 was suffering from when running on the soft tyres.
Schumacher managed the eighth fastest time of the day with a lap of 1min22.939sec and also clocked 100 laps worth of track time.
The world championship kicks off on 16 March with practice for the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne with qualifying to be held on 17 March and the race the day after.