These new 2017 Formula 1 cars have now got into the 1:18s at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya…
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen dropped the best lap time of F1 winter testing even further on the last day of pre-season running.
He probably wasn’t all that bothered about the lap (“bwoah” was probably his response), but the Finn put in an ice-cool 1:18.634 on the super-soft tyre to conclude F1 testing.
F1 originally wanted these new 2017 cars to be five seconds quicker back in 2015 and that was already achieved with Valtteri Bottas’ 1:19.320 on day two of the second test.
Sebastian Vettel then smashed that time out of the park with a 1:19.024 on day three and he wasn’t even pushing all the way, backing off on the run to the line.
So, we knew a 1:18 was possible, but probably didn’t expect it to be achieved so spectacularly – and by Raikkonen, too, not a Mercedes driver.
It’s a seriously impressive lap time from Raikkonen, but it’s still 0.295s slower than the overall lap record at the Spanish track, set by Felipe Massa in 2008 testing.
Raikkonen set his best time at the wheel of the SF70H mid-way through the morning session and it proved to be unbeatable.
It ended F1 testing on a high and with some serious hype surrounding these new F1 beasts and the prospect of Ferrari potentially challenging Mercedes.
Ferrari’s day wasn’t completely smooth though, with Raikkonen causing the fifth red flag of the day and first of the afternoon with a spin at the chicane, following a technical issue.
Max Verstappen was eight tenths down on the Iceman’s best time in second, with Carlos Sainz third and Valtteri Bottas fourth.
Another dismal day was suffered by McLaren. Fernando Alonso caused numerous red flags (as did Romain Grosjean) due to issues with his MCL32.
The fact 2017 cars are already this much quicker is an encouraging sign, but you can’t read too much into testing times – with fuel loads, programmes and set-ups all differing.
Nevertheless, it’s been an intriguing eight days of F1 on-track action and is certainly getting us excited for the Australian GP. HYPE!