JEREZ, Spain - Formula 1's first pre-season test ended in Jerez on Wednesday (Feb 4) with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen owning the fastest lap, Mercedes doing more laps than any other team and McLaren once again bottom of the time sheets.
FAMILIAR SIGHT: Kimi Raikkonen testing his Ferrari in Jerez. He was fastest overall in 2015 pre-season testing there but Mercedes did way more laps. Image / Shutterstock
While Raikkonen completed 106 laps in the new Ferrari SF15-T car, and ensured Ferrari-engined cars set the pace every day, champions Mercedes showed off their reliability with the most distance covered.
Double F1 champion Lewis Hamilton did 117 laps, taking Mercedes' tally over the four days to 516 laps and equal to 2.284km, and was not worried about the times.
"It's been pretty amazing this week to see how reliable the car has been and how many kilometres we've covered," said the 30-year-old Briton, who won 11 of the 19 races last year. "We all loved the experience of 2014 and everybody wants to do it again. This is where you prove out the car - looking for as many laps as you can, not searching for fast times.
"It's been really positive from that perspective and every day here the car has got better as we learn more about it." He was third on the day's time sheets.
McLaren, whose drivers managed only six laps each on the first two days at the wheel of the new Honda-powered car, managed at least to try some long runs even if technical problems again hampered them. Jenson Button managed 35 laps, building on the 32 done by Fernando Alonso on Tuesday (Feb 4) but the day again ended early after what the team said was a fuel-related spark/ignition issue.
Engineering director Matt Morris said: "We've had a few issues this week - all pretty small - but cumulatively they meant we were stuck in the garage for quite some time. Still, our prime objective coming away from this test was to ascertain that the main car architecture worked, and we've done that."
Sweden's Marcus Ericsson was second-fastest for Sauber, a team which scored zero points through 2014 in its worst season yet; 17-year-old rookie Max Verstappen was fourth in a Toro Rosso ahead of Brazilian Felipe Massa in a Williams.The next test will start in Barcelona on February 19. The season's first race will be in Melbourne, Australia, on March 15.
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