sport

Raikkonen ends testing on top

Kimi Raikkonen was quickest on the final day of official testing before the new Formula One season begins later this month.

The former champion, preparing for his first season with Lotus, signed off with a fastest lap of one minute 22.030 seconds in the morning session at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.

It was a mark no-one was able to better this afternoon, as the teams concentrated on race simulation ahead of the opening Grand Prix in Melbourne in a fortnight.

Raikkonen had endured a frustrating day yesterday when a steering problem meant he missed over an hour of testing.

It was unsurprising that the 32-year-old Finn therefore re-appeared today as he looked for maximum time behind the wheel on his return to Formula One after two seasons away.

Fernando Alonso, the man who replaced Raikkonen at Ferrari two years ago, was second quickest as less than half a second covered the top six drivers.

Alonso was 0.22secs off Raikkonen's pace while Williams' Bruno Senna, who only completed the morning session before being replaced by Pastor Maldonado, was third fastest a further 0.46secs back.

Nico Hulkenberg was next quickest in his Force India while Kamui Kobayashi was next to reflect on a good day despite an engine problem at one point forcing him to stop.

McLaren's former champion Lewis Hamilton was next, having got 116 laps under his belt.

Vitaly Petrov (Caterham), Michael Schumacher (Mercedes), Maldonado (Williams) and Australian tyro Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) rounded out the timesheet.

It was a forgettable day for reigning champion Sebastian Vettel, whose Red Bull was plagued by gearbox problems for most of the day.

The German never really got going before managing six laps late in the day to avoid a complete washout.