Kimi Raikkonen set an eye-catching pace for Alfa Romeo at the start of Day Three as the Finn posted the fastest lap of F1 Testing.
Raikkonen led the field with his 1:17.762, finishing the morning over half a second ahead of former team-mate Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari, who had topped all of the test’s previous four sessions.
Raikkonen’s lap was set on a softer tyre to Vettel’s, while it is also unclear what the fuel loads were on both cars, but his time was still impressive for a Ferrari-powered Alfa Romeo team who have been one of the winter’s early surprise packages.
Mercedes, meanwhile, continue to keep their cards firmly close to their chests.
F1 2019 Testing: The fastest laps
Valtteri Bottas was the slowest out of all nine drivers on Wednesday morning, lapping almost three seconds slower than Raikkonen but also completing the most amount of laps, with 86 on the board.
The world champions say they are focusing on ‘maximising laps and working through our programme’.
Renault, however, started to unleash some of their speed with Nico Hulkenberg third, while Daniil Kvyat was a place behind in the Honda-powered Toro Rosso.
Red Bull are also slowly creeping into contention at the beginning of their Honda partnership. Max Verstappen ensured the team dipped into the 1:18s for the first time this pre-season as he placed fifth before lunch.
Wednesday morning presented less in terms of drama but there was still a red flag.
Pietro Fittipaldi, grandson of two-time F1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi, ground to a halt in the Haas, who have had a few reliability failures in Barcelona.
And Carlos Sainz, who didn’t get out on track until the third hour, span his McLaren in the closing minutes and was lucky to avoid the barriers.
Williams missed another session on Wednesday but hope to get back out on track in the afternoon after finally getting their FW42 to the circuit in the early hours.
George Russell will be in the car if they do emerge.
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