F1 Pre-Season Testing 2018: Friday Times and Analysis from Barcelona

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMarch 9, 2018

TOPSHOT - Ferrari's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen takes part in the tests for the new Formula One Grand Prix season at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo on the outskirts of Barcelona on March 9, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENE        (Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)
LLUIS GENE/Getty Images

Kimi Raikkonen had a triumphant finish in Formula One testing on Friday as the Ferrari clocked the fastest lap time in Catalonia, Spain, ahead of the 2018 season getting under way at the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday, March 25.

He finished top of the timesheet with a fastest lap of one minute, 17.221 seconds, while McLaren's Fernando Alonso ended the last day of testing in second.

Sebastian Vettel was absent from the final day of testing after setting a new Circuit de Catalunya record of 1:17.182 seconds on Thursday, although team-mate Raikkonen was back in action.

It was a mixed day for the McLaren team after they suffered their fifth breakdown of the week, while Romain Grosjean impressed for Haas, finishing ahead of reigning champion Lewis Hamilton in the lap times. 

Autosport provided a breakdown of the top driver performances on Friday:

Raikkonen was fastest early on and displayed consistency throughout the day, which will please fans of the Italian constructor.

Hamilton completed 97 laps and didn't return to the track following the unofficial break between sessions, telling his Mercedes team upon finishing: "I'm really proud of you all. Looking forward to taking this car to Melbourne!"

It looked like it would be a poor day for Alonso, who was forced to a stop on the gravel just after Turn 7 as familiar problems re-emerged.

Alonso registered only seven laps before what looked to be an oil leak prematurely ended his morning.

McLaren's Spanish Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso takes part in the tests for the new Formula One Grand Prix season at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo on the outskirts of Barcelona on March 9, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENE        (Photo credit shou
LLUIS GENE/Getty Images

However, the Spanish former world champion was rapid in the afternoon as he displayed his best to clock the second-fastest time.

Alonso also registered a tremendous mark of 1:16.720, but the time was wiped off after the driver cut a chicane.

Sauber driver Charles Leclerc completed 18 laps before his morning was cut short by a crash into the barrier at Turn 11, although the 20-year-old confirmed he was not injured in the aftermath:

Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley also impressed in his early action and was the first driver to get 50 laps on the board for the day, challenging with a time of 1:18.949 at the session's halfway mark.

Hartley ended the day seventh-fastest, indicating the smaller teams could be competitive during the forthcoming season.

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