Raikkonen sets the pace at Valencia

Raikkonen sets the pace at Valencia

Kimi Raikkonen set a scorching pace at Valencia on the final day of testing, clocking not only the best time of the day and the week, but also the best unofficial time to date for a V8 engine at the track. The McLaren MP4-21 posted 1:09.987, just...

Kimi Raikkonen set a scorching pace at Valencia on the final day of testing, clocking not only the best time of the day and the week, but also the best unofficial time to date for a V8 engine at the track. The McLaren MP4-21 posted 1:09.987, just under a second slower than Raikkonen's own 2005 lap record, and undercutting Fernando Alonso's previous V8 best of 1:10.530 by just over half a second.

Kimi Raikkonen.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Team test driver Pedro de la Rosa was also at work and was fifth fastest. McLaren will head to Barcelona next week, which will be Raikkonen's last time in the cockpit before Bahrain's season opener. "It has been an encouraging week at the test," said the Finn.

"I have covered good mileage in the MP4-21 in dry track conditions and worked through a number of development programmes with the team. Next week I will be in Barcelona for my final test before going to Bahrain, I have three days in the car there and I am looking forward to carrying on with the work from this week."

Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella was second fastest, over nine tenths off Raikkonen, and tester Heikki Kovalainen was fourth on the time sheet. Fisichella had a minor hydraulic problem that delayed him slightly but managed 83 laps of set up work. Kovalainen did tyre evaluation and a race simulation and racked up 161 laps.

"We finished this session on the right note: a high-mileage day with competitive performance from both cars," said chief race engineer Christian Silk. "Overall, we had a good week: we have discovered some promising development directions, and completed nearly 3000 km."

David Coulthard concluded Red Bull's week with third fastest while working on set up, tyres and control systems. "Next week, we move to Barcelona for the final test before the opening round of the season and so we will be concentrating on race distance simulations and race preparation, including pit-stops, complete with refuelling," said technical director Mark Smith.

MF1 had a trio of drivers on track with Christijan Albers sixth, Adrian Sutil seventh and Tiago Monteiro eighth. In the last session using the interim EJ15B, Albers worked on tyres and Sutil continued to familiarize himself with the car. Monteiro had an early off track excursion in the M16 but managed to return to the track in the afternoon.

"This week has been very useful," said technical director James Key. "We've made more progress with the set up and have a much better understanding of the car. We have also made a great step forward with the tyres… heading into Barcelona next week, a track we are very familiar with, will give us an even better chance to look at development."

Only one car was at work in Bahrain today and Ferrari's Michael Schumacher set a best time of 1:32.702. In the 248 the German worked on tyres and development of the new car. Ferrari will have a day off tomorrow but Schumacher and teammate Felipe Massa will be back on the Sakhir track on Sunday.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Pedro de la Rosa , Michael Schumacher , David Coulthard , Kimi Raikkonen , Fernando Alonso , Christijan Albers , Felipe Massa , Tiago Monteiro , Heikki Kovalainen
Teams Ferrari , McLaren