The Circuit de Catalunya was artificially dampened to allow teams some time on Pirelli’s wet-weather tyres, but the drivers were still able to post times on the dry tyres later on.
Ferrari registered the quickest time again, with Kimi Raikkonen setting a 1.20.872 on the soft compound ahead of the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, who managed a 1.21.769on the same compound, with Jolyon Palmer’s Renault less than a hundredth-of-a-second behind.
Haas’ consistency continued into the Fourth day, with Romain Grosjean clocking another hundred laps in the VF17, the American outfit has looked impressive at this test, the Frenchman managed to set the fourth quickest time, just over half-a-second down on Palmer but on the harder Medium compound.
It’s testing, so it’s difficult to place teams given set-up and fuel weight, so Antonio Giovonazzi’s fifth in the Sauber on the Ultrasofts could be a glory run, Sauber tend to do this in testing. It would be a worrying sign for the Sauber to be a tenth off of the Haas on a tyre compound three grades softer. If there’s anything positive to take, Giovonazzi was nearly two-tenths faster that Vandoorne’s McLaren on the Ultrasofts.
From this test session over the week, Ferrari again look to be in a strong place, not just over a single lap but also on longer runs. The team have encountered minimal issues. Kimi Raikkonen believes that the team’s application has been much smoother in the 2017 pre-season tests, he said,
“If we compare with how it went a year ago it’s been much smoother going, so it’s a good start.
We’ve been doing our own stuff and I’m happy with how things are running. The car has a good feeling, everything has been reasonable, we haven’t had any issues – we cannot complain too much.
Are we going to be fast enough? We don’t know that yet; how it turns out at the end of the year is hard to say. We’ve learned lessons from the past years and the team has done a good job, but will it be enough? We will see – but the first feelings are good, and that’s the main thing.”
– Kimi Raikkonen
Last year in pre-season testing, Ferrari collected the title of being the team most likely to challenge Mercedes. Will it be more of the same in 2017? Or have Ferrari created a genuine title challenger in the SF70H?