Räikkönen sets pace on final day at Jerez

Räikkönen sets pace on final day at Jerez

8 February 2013 – Kimi Räikkönen set the fastest time on the final day of the opening pre-season test at Jerez, delivering a personal best effort of 1:18.148 on a set of Soft Pirelli tyres. The Lotus driver edged out Force India candidate Jules Bianchi by 27 thousandths of a second, while Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel completed the top three.

Clear skies welcomed the drivers once more on Friday, with the Jerez circuit escaping any pre-season precipitation. After the initial installations runs, which are customary on the morning of every test, the teams set about getting their final day programmes well and truly underway. However, Pedro de la Rosa's F138 had other ideas, with the car catching fire on the approach to Turn 7 just two laps into his first ever run for Ferrari. The Maranello-based outfit later diagnosed a faulty gearbox as the cause, which left him confined to the garage until 1.56pm local time (GMT +1).

The damaged concrete run-off strip at Jerez
Although de la Rosa's issue raised eyebrows early on, a more bizarre stoppage was initiated during the unofficial lunch break. A slab of concrete broke away from a run-off strip between Turns 9 and 10, leaving a large hole. As the marshals worked through possible fixes, which consisted of two plastic blocks before the quick-dry cement arrived, the field lost one hour. This was partly compensated for when circuit officials opted to extend the day's running by 30 minutes.

When the action resumed, Jules Bianchi made his presence known at Force India. The Frenchman briefly led proceedings before Räikkönen's late effort, racking up 56 laps in the VJM06. Handing over to Paul di Resta for the final quarter of the day, the 2012 Formula Renault 3.5 runner-up is in the running to claim the vacant seat at the team, which is expected to be announced before the second gathering in Barcelona.

Vettel enjoyed another positive day in his new office, keeping a low profile en route to third. A little further back, Sauber driver Esteban Gutiérrez and Mercedes man Lewis Hamilton, sandwiched by Toro Rosso's Jean-Éric Vergne on the timing screens, were the clear mileage leaders. Despite causing one of three red flag phases, Gutiérrez racked up a hefty total of 142 laps, while Hamilton toured the venue 145 times.

At Hamilton's former employers, McLaren, Sergio Pérez continued his steady acclimatisation to the MP4-28 chassis, while Valtteri Bottas was the final man to finish under the 1:20.000 barrier behind the wheel of the 2012 Williams. De la Rosa ultimately bounced back from his technical troubles to gather mileage for Ferrari's simulator correlation, while Charles Pic, Luiz Razia and di Resta brought up the rear.

Felipe Massa's pace-setting effort from Thursday remains the overall fastest of the week, with the Brazilian delivering a time of 1:17.879 on the Soft compound tyre.

Pre-season testing continues at the Circuit de Catalunya at 9am local time (GMT +1) on 19 February and can be followed via the GPUpdate.net Live Report feature

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