Raikkonen fastest as McLaren reliability trouble continues

From ESPN - March 9, 2018

MONTMELO, Spain -- Ferrari remained at the top of the timesheets during the final morning of pre-season testing as McLaren faced another reliability issue with Fernando Alonso at the wheel.

Kimi Raikkonen's fastest time was a 1:17.221 on the hyper-soft tyres and although it was not quite quick enough to beat the new track record set by his Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel the day before, it was still 1.369s clear of his nearest rival.

Raikkonen focused on a series of performance runs in the Ferrari, working his way through the softest tyres in Pirelli's range from super-soft to ultra-soft to hyper-soft. His best time came on his second hyper-soft run but comparisons remain difficult with rivals Red Bull and Mercedes as both teams opted to focus on long-run pace once again.

But as the top three teams ticked off the final boxes on their winter testing wishlists, McLaren's run of poor reliability returned. In a remarkable moment of dj vu, Fernando Alonso suffered another oil leak at the same section of track where he experienced a similar breakdown on Wednesday. The car returned to the garage on a flatbed truck where the mechanics set about changing the engine in the hope of returning to the track in the afternoon. By 13:00 local time Alonso had just seven laps on the board.

Renault also struggled for mileage, with only four laps for Carlos Sainz after a gearbox problem kept his car in the garage for most of the morning. The R.S.18 has proved reliable so far this week, but the team will be keen to understand the issue fully before heading to Australia for the first race of the season later this month.


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