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Raikkonen tops Silverstone timesheets


As was the case yesterday - and for much of the British Grand Prix weekend - it was a day of two halves, dry in the morning and rain arriving during the lunch break. However, thankfully this afternoon's downpour wasn't too serious thereby allowing some serious running. Indeed, between them the eleven drivers on duty completed 1111 laps, just over 4000 miles.

Six drivers completed more than 100 laps, one of the busiest being Pascal Wehrlein who continued his tyre testing for Pirelli in the 2014 Mercedes W05.

The German completed more laps than anyone else on Wednesday morning, but his progress was delayed by a technical problem on the car in the afternoon. Nonetheless, some useful data was obtained prior to the test programme with 2017-sized tyres commencing next month.

Raikkonen's best time of 1:30.665 was set in the final hour, using soft tyres, while the fastest time yesterday (1:31.290), set by Fernando Alonso in the McLaren, was with the supersoft tyre. By way of comparison, the pole time for the Grand Prix last weekend was 1:29.287s (on softs) while the fastest race lap was 1:35.548.

The medium and soft tyres were the most favoured during the test, as they best suit the track. With more than a second and a half in time difference between the two, the headline times came from the softer compounds.

During the final afternoon the ultrasoft also made an appearance but did not set a complete lap time. However, Stoffel Vandoorne in the McLaren set a personal best first sector time with the purple compound before aborting the lap.

On his way to posting the fastest time, Raikkonen racked up a total of 103 laps as he worked on a programme that centred on set-ups, aerodynamic testing and short runs.

"We've been doing our normal testing work, trying different things," said the Finn. "We've tried to find good things. We always expect more as a team in terms of results. That's Ferrari: we want to win and keep working. Then we will see what happens. We believe we can still win and we don't want to give up, but improve."

Esteban Ocon continued for Mercedes, the Frenchman completing 59 laps before the lunch break and a further 80 laps in the afternoon. The morning programme focused on aerodynamic developments and data logging using various aero rakes - an educational exercise for future car development & wind tunnel correlation - while in the afternoon, the team focused on car setup work and race simulations

"I felt really comfortable in the car today," said Ocon. "We were able to do 139 laps and finished all of our planned programmes. We started the day with some aerodynamic tests which went well. Then, in the afternoon, I was able to improve my driving with every lap - especially using the soft tyres. I am really thankful for the opportunity the team have given. It's really allowed me to learn a lot."

Pierre Gasly was another driver who completed over 100 laps, the 20-year-old spending the morning carrying out aerodynamic work on medium compound tyres, then in the afternoon undertaking further evaluation work of test parts.

"I'm really happy about today," he said. "We got more than 100 laps, which was really good. A lot of mileage on the medium tyres, a lot of long runs in which I could really get attuned to the car. We tested many things for the team, which was the most important thing and I tried to give really good feedback and to get the best out of all those laps, because it's not every day you get the chance to drive a Formula One car, especially with Red Bull. We put on a set of softs on at the end and we managed to do a pretty good lap, so all in all it was a really, really good day."

"After missing a lot of track time yesterday we had a really productive day today," added Head of Race Engineering, Guillaume Rocquelin. "It rained after lunch, which lost us about an hour, as the track was never really right for intermediates, just a bit greasy, but otherwise it was a good outing. We ran for pretty much the whole day on medium tyres as there's no real point in changing tyres when you're working through a test programme. However, in the last few laps we put on softs and gave Pierre a chance to show what he can do. You always like to see how the young guys do against the race drivers and he did very well. We were a little bit behind the eight ball yesterday having lost the morning, but we got it all back today, so all in all a successful test."

Russian youngster Nikita Mazepin enjoyed his second day on duty for Force India, completing a further 69 laps and finishing fourth quickest.

"These two days have been extremely useful and have no doubt been two of the biggest days of my life," said the Russia. "My main objective was to help the team out as much as possible and I'm pleased with how things went.

"We managed to test a lot of items and we also managed to do a few performance runs, which went very well. I kept working and chipping away at the laptime, finding places where I could improve every time I went out.

"We did a lot of work on our set-up, on aero items and I improved as a driver, so it's positives all around. This experience will help me in my position as development driver, as we continue to work on correlation for our simulator programme. It has been an incredibly enjoyable experience and I can't wait to have another opportunity to jump in the car."

"We had a lot of aero measurements and component changes throughout the day," revealed Chief Race Engineer, Tom McCullough, "which kept the guys very busy in the garage.

"Nikita didn't put a foot wrong all day, allowing us to gather lots of very valuable correlation data for the car. With every run, he continued to improve, as we saw yesterday, and he kept exploring the limits of the car and giving us good feedback. Nikita's progression has been as we expected and I am looking forward to continuing our development programme with him.

"The work we did in these two days also allowed us to collect useful data for the final two races before the summer break. Although we lost some time yesterday due to the adverse weather, we managed to get a very ambitious test programme finished, which is a credit to the crew."

Stoffel Vandoorne was on duty for McLaren where the day's programme was a continuation of Fernando Alonso's run plan yesterday, with further aero correlation work, multiple set-up changes, power unit functionality and systems checks, and tyre compound tests.

The afternoon's dry running meant Vandoorne was able to test a number of set-up and balance configurations over short runs, as well as complete longer runs to monitor tyre and power unit performance. The day was trouble-free and Vandoorne clocked a total of 114 laps.

"We've had quite a successful day," said the Belgian, "a lot of aero stuff to do this morning and then after that I got some good runs in. We've been testing various new systems we've got on the car. It's the final day of in-season testing so there's always a lot on the programme to complete - not just aero and set-up but also power unit-related work.

"We weren't too rain-affected and made the most of the dry conditions today. The car felt positive and I could push straight away, which is always a nice feeling after a few months out of the cockpit. We pressed on with a lot of development to try and resolve some of the issues we had during the British Grand Prix weekend, which wasn't always easy as the wind changes a lot here as the day goes on and it makes quite a big difference to car balance.

"Luckily, we had a lot of tyres left because of all the rain yesterday, so in between set-up changes we tried to get as many laps in as possible, and I'm pleased with how today has gone."

"Stoffel started the day carrying out further aero correlation work started by Fernando yesterday," added Dave Redding, the Woking outfit's Team Manager. "Once this was successfully completed, the programme switched to medium-term development items for both the power unit and chassis.

"Stoffel was straight up to speed and drove consistently throughout the day despite the gusting wind and occasional rain shower. Overall, we are very satisfied with how the two days of testing have gone - it's provided us with a huge amount of valuable data to pore over, which will be put to good use by our engineers to help shape the development of the MP4-31 over the coming months and beyond."

"Similar to yesterday, everything went smoothly for the final day of running," said Satoshi Nakamura, Honda R&D Co Ltd Principal Engineer, "and we were able to complete all aspects of our test programme. The functionality and reliability of the newly upgraded ICE intake system was further confirmed, and we were able to check for any potential shortcomings at the Hungaroring. We were also able to work on good data set-up for Hungary. This data will now be analysed on the dyno in both Milton Keynes and Sakura before the next race weekend.

"Both our drivers have done a good job over these past few days, driving solidly and giving precise, detailed feedback for us to work with, so thank you to Fernando and Stoffel. Last but not least, the team has done an incredible job during these gruelling back-to-back races and test conditions."

"The morning session was very good," said Valtteri Bottas, who completed 98 laps on the way to posting the sixth best time of the day. "We focused on high fuel, longer runs and got 100% of our test programme done, with some interesting results.

"The weather was good in the morning so we were able to collect plenty of data. In the afternoon we had a bit of a rain shower, which cost us a bit of time so we completed most of our planned programme. We continued with some high fuel runs early on in the afternoon but towards the end of the session we switched our focus to some aero testing.

"I think all-in-all with the weather conditions we had it was a very good day. We have lots of data to analyse and I really enjoyed being back in the car, as always."

"This morning we did some medium length runs to look at first lap performance and tyre degradation with various mechanical set-ups," added Chief Test & Support Engineer, Rod Nelson. "We had a new front suspension and an alternative rear suspension that we worked through.

"Most of the afternoon was spent looking at mechanical set-up work but predominantly aero testing on the soft tyres. We have to choose which tyres we bring to a test so we have to choose the appropriate tyre for what we want to do. For this reason we used the medium tyre for the longer mechanical runs and the soft tyre for the shorter aero runs. All-in-all it was a very successful day to end the test."

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