Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus spent most of the morning in the pits thanks to a gearbox problem. A couple of soft-tyre runs towards the end of the afternoon nevertheless lifted him to fifth.
TODAY'S TIMES Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m20.130s 131 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m20.494s + 0.364s 120 3. Jenson Button McLaren 1m21.444s + 1.314s 122 4. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m21.541s + 1.411s 118 5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m21.658s + 1.528s 50 6. Paul di Resta Force India 1m21.664s + 1.534s 112 7. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m22.415s + 2.285s 42 8. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m22.514s + 2.384s 100 9. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m22.524s + 2.394s 31 10. Charles Pic Caterham 1m23.115s + 2.985s 116 11. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m23.167s + 3.037s 62 12. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m23.628s + 3.498s 91 13. Max Chilton Marussia 1m24.103s + 3.973s 49
KR: “The few times that problems have cost us many hours, it’s always been the same thing. And we don’t expect it to happen when it’s warmer. When you have these problems, you can never be 100 per cent that it won’t happen again. But we had some problems in testing last year and then found the racing was OK. I think it will be the same story again.”
Lotus technical director James Allison said that despite the loss of track time, Raikkonen’s afternoon, which revolved around a number of four to seven lap stints on medium and soft tyres, had given the team reason to be optimistic for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
“Today was something like this entire test in microcosm; we spent too much of the day in the garage, but when we did get out on track we made good progress.
“A definite positive is that we are not finding it difficult to be on the pace, and we haven’t had to resort to low-fuel runs at any of the tests to get a good time out of the car.”
Kimi Raikkonen was well enough to return to the Lotus cockpit for the final day of 2013 Formula 1 winter testing at Barcelona on Sunday after missing day three of the test due to illness.
The Finn had been scheduled to take over from Romain Grosjean for Saturday and Sunday.
But he was struck with suspected food poisoning and had to take Saturday to recover.
Grosjean had already left the track, so reserve driver Davide Valsecchi was called up to begin running for Lotus until the Frenchman made it back to Barcelona.
Lotus team boss Eric Boullier said on Saturday night that Raikkonen was expected to be fit enough to drive on Sunday, and he duly took to the track when the session began.
Grosjean remains on standby to take over in case of further problems.
09:13 Raikkonen has only done one installation lap. Vettel has completed eight laps, but all have been in or out laps.
09:58 And this explains why Raikkonen hasn’t recorded a time:
@Lotus_F1Team Though Kimi is fighting fit, the E21 has a little gearbox sniffle. Kimi’s having a quick nap as we apply Vix vapour rub to the box
10:56 An update from Lotus:
@Lotus_F1Team We think the gearbox has picked up Kimi’s bug so we’re drafting in a replacement. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be flown in from Paris
The Enstone-based outfit was forced to fly Romain Grosjean in from Paris to try and complete its test programme after Raikkonen was struck down overnight with illness.
Although a final decision about Raikkonen’s fitness will be made on Sunday morning, team principal Eric Boullier said that the indication was that everything would be okay.
“He is feeling better,” said Boullier, when asked by AUTOSPORT about Raikkonen’s condition.
“I think he is missing driving obviously. He has confirmed he wants to drive tomorrow. He feels ready to drive tomorrow, so I am going to wait for the final assessment from our doctor. But I think he is going to be okay.”
Grosjean, who will remain in Barcelona until tomorrow just in case Raikkonen is not fit enough to drive on Sunday, revealed that he only found out that he needed to return to the track when he woke up in Paris.
“I was a bit lazy this morning,” explained the Frenchman. “I was supposed to wake up between 9.30am and 10am to do personal stuff in Paris, but I woke up earlier at 8.30am.
“I switched on the mobile phone and I had a message from Alan [Permane, Lotus director of race engineering], and he said, ‘can you call me back because Kimi is not well? We would appreciate it if you could make it to Barcelona.’
“I called him back and said, ‘we will try the easiest solution to bring me here’. It wasn’t easy because basically it is Saturday and there are not thousands of flights. So I am happy to be here. I got here at 1.50pm and jumped in car and had a few laps.”
Kimi Raikkonen has been forced to pull out of the penultimate day of testing at Barcelona due to sickness.
The Finn had been set to begin the final two days of running for his Lotus team on Saturday, but was struck down with suspected food poisoning early this morning.
Due to concerns about his physical state it was decided that it was unwise for him to drive, although the team remains hopeful that he will be in better shape for Sunday.
Lotus’ other driver Romain Grosjean had left the track on Friday night to head home for a few days rest before meetings at Enstone next week.
Team boss Eric Boullier told AUTOSPORT the Frenchman had been recalled to Barcelona, and there are hopes he will be able to rejoin the test by lunchtime on Saturday.
In the meantime, Lotus reserve driver Davide Valsecchi will start the day’s running for Lotus.