Raikkonen enters the scene and the clock drops sharply

The Ferrari driver stops the clock at 1:20.960 on a second test day marked by the several problems of McLaren, Williams, Sauber and Renault.

Formula 1

The second Formula One Test Day at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya served to evidence that while Mercedes and Ferrari are doing extremely well, many teams are still looking for their right path. Lewis Hamilton in the morning (1:20.983) and Kimi Raikkonen in the afternoon (1:20.960) clocked times that nobody seems to be able to match so far.

The team continued to lap and lap, just like yesterday. Hamilton covered 66 laps before the lunch break and, in the afternoon, team-mate Valtteri Bottas made a Grand Prix simulation with 102 laps, which makes a total of 168 laps for the team. Moreover, the British driver was the first to break the 1:21 barrier, although on super soft tyres.

Ferrari has chosen a similar strategy for this start of the preseason. Today was Raikkonen’s first day and the Finn covered a total of 108 laps, without any apparent mishaps, clocking the fastest time of these tests so far. His 1:20.960 lap is astonishing, especially considering that he made it on soft tyres.
Clock in hand, the other teams seem to be miles away. Third on the timing sheets was Max Verstappen (Red Bull), although more than a second behind: 1:22.200. Behind the Dutch driver, we find Danish driver Kevin Magnussen (Haas) with 1:22.204 and Frenchman Esteban Ocon (Force India) with 1:22.509, both on super soft tyres.

There were two drivers who were especially eager to get onto the track today. We are talking about the F1 rookies Lance Stroll and Antonio Giovinazzi. They both had a rather complicated debut. The Canadian went off the track with his Williams machine shortly after the start of the session, and as a consequence of the damages, his test day was reduced to only 12 laps.

Stroll, 2016 Champion of the European Formula 3, did not hide his disappointment: “It is not the debut I was dreaming of, but these things happen and it is only the start. I was looking forward to driving the car, after a long wait and such a long time preparing for it. However, it has been great to be at the wheel of the Williams, although it is clear that I still need to drive it a lot more in order to understand its behaviour. I’m happy to be here; it was positive to break the ice and I’m already looking forward to more”.

Things went better for Giovinazzi, but nothing to shout about either. The Italian driver (Ferrari test driver) spent almost the whole morning waiting, as his Sauber single-seater had problems with the power unit and the team had to replace it. He was more active in the afternoon and was able to make 67 laps, although with rather modest times.

The big question of the day was seeing whether McLaren had been able to solve the problems with the power unit that hindered Fernando Alonso yesterday from driving normally. However, young Stoffel Vandoorne was not able to lap much today either: 29 laps in the morning and 11 in the afternoon. His time, 1:25.600 was the second worst of the day.

“We have been testing only for two days and there is a lot of work to do. I hope to be able to do more laps in the coming days. I’m happy and the feeling is good after four months without getting into the car. We have to make the single-seater as fast as possible and bring McLaren back to the front”, explained Vandoorne at the end of the day. The Woking-based team will be back on the track tomorrow with Alonso.

The many novelties introduced in 2017 are causing havocs in this start of the preseason and Renault can confirm it. The French team is adapting to the changes with no delay and spent the whole morning installing new material in the single-seater. In the afternoon, Jolyon Palmer went onto the track with apparent normality, but was more than 3 seconds slower than Raikkonen.

Free admission with the ticket for the GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA 2017
Spectators were able to watch today at the Circuit not only the new livery of the models, but also the spectacular grid of sensors mounted by teams like Red Bull, Ferrari or Williams, as well as the new T-wings, which are placed above the engine covers to get better aerodynamics. Tomorrow will surely bring more surprises.
The tickets for the Formula One Test Days can be purchased on the Circuit website for 18 euros. All those who have already purchased their tickets for the FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA 2017, to be staged from 12 to 14 May, have free admission to the tests, as well as Circuit Members and Officials.

The Circuit makes the dream of meeting Lewis Hamilton come true for Circuit Members
Two Members of Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya had the chance to meet Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton this afternoon, during the second Formula One Test Day. The meeting at the Mercedes hospitality, provided the two fans and two accompanying persons with the chance to make their dream of meeting the British driver come true. They were able to chat for a while with him and to take some pictures.

Both lucky winners took part in a contest promoted through the social media of Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with the aim of bringing F1 closer to fans.

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